Quotes from Shockey Articles

17 Aug

Leah Thorsen, the Jefferson County respondent for the Post-Dispatch, who I consider to be a partner in covering this area, wrote a good article on Arnold Chief Shockey’s lawsuit. I especially appreciate this, in the 2nd paragraph:

The suit alleges retaliation, negligent supervision and training, and age discrimination, although the suit doesn’t give any examples of harassment based solely on his age.

That’s because there aren’t any! Thank you, Leah, for pointing this out. This fact has escaped others who covered this suit. The Leader didn’t even mention the age aspect of the suit (perhaps knowing it was bogus?).

Later in the article is what I called on Facebook the Quote of the Year, from former councilwoman and lawsuit co-defendant Doris Borgelt:

“I didn’t know it was a problem to ask somebody to do their job, which is what it boils down to,” Borgelt said Wednesday. “If he’s intimidated by a suburban housewife, what does he do when prisoners say something he doesn’t like to them?”

Of course, I should concede here that Shockey probably wouldn’t get away with pulling his gun on Borgelt. Even Pat Martin from the Leader might frown on that (maybe).

Here’s a paragraph in the Leader article I consider to be incorrect:

Shockey claims in his suit he been [sic] retaliated against ever since Moss’ sister, Becky Moss, was fired more than two years ago from her job with the Arnold parks department.

But in fact, the suit says this:

Sometime after the employee’s termination, the employee’s brother, Defendant Moss, was elected to the Arnold City Council. Since that time the Councilman in question harassed the Director who reported the initial incident to Plaintiff. The Director then reported the harassment by Defendant Moss to Plaintiff, which initiated the unwarranted and illegal harassment directed to Plaintiff.

The “Director,” of course, is Susie Boone. So the alleged harassment of Shockey didn’t start until after Boone’s report to Shockey about a year ago. It did not start when Becky Moss was fired.

Here’s another Leader quote, from Shockey’s (and Boone’s) lawyer Joan Swartz:

We’re trying to protect the chief from ongoing retaliation, which is what we believe is happening.

According to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, a claim of retaliation requires an “adverse action:”

Examples of adverse actions include:

  • Employment actions such as termination, refusal to hire, and denial of promotion;
  • Other actions affecting employment such as unjustified discipline or negative evaluations, unjustified negative references, or increased workload;
  • Any other action such as an assault or unfounded civil or criminal charges;

I don’t see how any of these apply here. MCHR also says this:

Adverse actions do not include petty slights and annoyances, such as stray negative comments in an otherwise positive or neutral evaluation, “snubbing” a colleague, or negative comments that are justified by an employee’s poor work performance or history.

Now I think that accurately describes this suit.

On a related note, Shockey is 52. I thought that seemed rather young to be claiming (unfounded) age discrimination. It turns out that, in Missouri, one needs to be only 40 years old to make this claim. That seems overly low to me.

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2 Responses to “Quotes from Shockey Articles”

  1. Bob Hohmeier August 19, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    Denial of promotion? Both Moss and Borgelt voted to PROMOTE him to City Administrator! And with that, a $40K annual pay raise.

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  1. Setback in Shockey’s Quest for Payday | Jefferson County Penknife - March 10, 2014

    […] police chief and former acting city administrator Robert Shockey has a lawsuit pending against the city of Arnold, former councilwoman Doris Borgelt, and councilman Ken Moss. He is […]

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