CHURUBUSCO — A Churubusco town employee was fired Wednesday night after the town council listened to disputes and put the matter to a vote.
“Your counsel can contact our counsel,” said Council President Frank Kessler to former Wastewater Treatment Supervisor Bob Hyatt.
Hyatt read a letter he received Monday from Madalyn Sade-Bartl, clerk/treasurer, and Jeremy Hart, town supervisor.
“The letter was stating there was a digester spill and it was not documented nor was my supervisor notified,” said Hyatt.
Hyatt said the town requires him to contact the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) within 24 hours and it’s an offense punishable by fine.
“The letter states that I have had late arrivals on four occasions and didn’t make a note on my time card, which is falsifying my timecard and that I used the town’s cell phones for personal calls,” said Hyatt.
Before Hyatt spoke, the council made a motion to terminate Hyatt’s employment. It called for the letter to be ratified. Hyatt was suspended without pay.
Kessler suggested to Hyatt to make good use of his time during the meeting.
“I should have time to make my appeal,” said Hyatt.
“I called the IDEM inspector on May 3 and I received this letter from Mrs. Raiser,” said Hyatt.
“The letter states that on April 12 she received an e-mail from Madalyn Sade-Bartl, which was confidential about a hypothetical spill,” Hyatt said.
Hyatt went on to explain how on May 4 the IDEM met Hart at the waste water treatment plant and toured the facility. He told of the conversation between Sade-Bartl, Hart and Bob Gray and IDEM.
Ronald Felger, Churubusco town attorney, said to Hyatt, “This is not a hearing.”
“But they have accused me of dishonesty and theft. My job is on the line. I’m a Certified Class 2 operator,” said Hyatt.
“They sent you that letter out of the goodness of their heart,” said Felger.
“According to the handbook, on page 27 and paragraph 4, I can ask for an appeal. How does the appeal process work if it’s not at this meeting?” said Hyatt.
The council members and Felger all looked at the handbook.
“You must request an appeal in writing,” said Felger.
“That’s what I’m doing. I have all of the writing here tonight. After nine years of service can’t I afford that much respect? I was never told until May 14 this was going to be on the agenda at tonight’s meeting,” asked Hyatt.
“I do request to see all of my personnel files, all of my time sheets from July 3, 2003, and all the files on my cell phone usage. You’ll see no overage charges were ever incurred. I’ll seek legal counsel,” said Hyatt.
Kessler reminded Hyatt that his attorney could contact the town attorney.
The council voted in favor of Hyatt’s termination 3-0.