On Oct. 6 around 5 o’clock in the afternoon Commissioner [Steve] Brown called me and asked me if I had heard about the issue at 911. He began to tell me that 911 Director Buster Brown was harassing the employees.
He said that a husband of an employee had contacted him and told him that the 911 Director Buster Brown had called his wife and told her to come in to work. She said no. Commissioner Brown said that the husband told him Director Buster Brown told her she needed to think about whether she wanted to work in 911.
Commissioner Brown went on telling me this is uncalled for and that type of behavior should not happen. He told me that 911 Director Buster Brown had resigned. I told him that I did not know anything about this.
After checking, I found that no complaint had been filed and that the 911 director had told some that he resigned but his resignation had not been given to the administrator. Administrator [Steve] Rapson told me he had a meeting set up for Monday morning with 911 Director Buster Brown and Human Resources Director Patterson to discuss the resignation.
That Monday morning Commissioner Brown sent an email.
I’m no handwriting expert but I am pretty sure the same person wrote the names on all those envelopes. Interesting that Commissioner Brown met the party at our parking lot before 8 a.m., took the complaints and hand delivered them to HR.
Then it was on the news and in the papers. They tell me information from inside the complaints was in the newspaper even though there had not been anything coming through an open records request. It was on TV and there were things put on Facebook. All of this based on accusations.
Commissioner Brown posted on Facebook in violation of county policy that he agreed to abide by.
If a county employee cannot post or blog as the policy says, how is it that they can have their spouse (Mical Heminger) do the posting for them?
Commissioner Brown emailed again thinking he had discovered something that was not right at 911.
Commissioner Brown thought he caught something happening that should not be happening at 911. The fact is that in the contract the Board of Commissioners approved, and Commissioner Brown voted for, there was a section about Joint Marketing with our 911 center as a milestone described as a “marketing campaign.” Maybe Commissioner Brown voted for it and was going to read it later but just has not gotten around to it.
I got a voice recording of the phone call where the spouse called the 911 director. I made an open records request to get this. 911 Director Buster Brown did not have to talk to him, but he did. Notice that the caller called him Buster, not Director Brown. Director Buster Brown wasn’t angry, he did not yell or threaten him.
The spouse (Mical Heminger) said at one point that he owned property in Fayette County. Why does that matter? Well, does he? If he is not telling the truth is he telling the truth about everything else? Commissioner Brown believes him.
Then the spouse (Mical Heminger) made a threat. “if this is how it’s going to be, it is going to open up a can of pain.” The overall conversation was about his wife being called to work on her day off. In public safety that is always a possibility.
The wording changed a little over the years. They did not feel the need to say, “During these significant events a ‘call to duty’ is considered mandatory and response is required.” This wording was removed but the intent remained the same. This is a 20-year-old policy and was being followed long before 911 Director Buster Brown was hired.
Now there seems to be an attack on others in 911, the county Administrator Rapson and HR director Patterson, not to mention the commissioners he is attacking.
I had heard about something called “Wrap-up Smear.” What is that? Nancy Pelosi said, “You smear somebody with falsehoods and all the rest and then you merchandise and then you write it. They will say see it’s reported in the press that this, this, this and this, so they have that validation that the press reported the smear and then it’s called the wrap-up smear.”
The letter Commissioner Brown wrote to The Citizen newspaper (“Management failures abound in 911 saga”), let’s just call that letter the smear. Then the post he made on Facebook (The Shakerag Focused on Fayette County, GA, Oct. 17 at 10:12 a.m.) let’s call it merchandise. Does this fit the wrap-up smear description?
Commissioner Brown says that employees are afraid to file a complaint. Commissioner Brown wants an employee panel to receive complaints. That’s HR’s function. Filing a complaint with HR is protection. An employee panel is not the answer.
Should this have been blown into such a big ordeal by the news and Commissioner Brown’s letter to the paper because of one complaint? That complaint is until verified just an accusation. How did Commissioner Brown verify any of the information? Sounds like it was through hearsay.
I can’t help but wonder if employees that say, “No,” get disciplined. If so, did this employee get disciplined or did the complaint keep her from getting disciplined? Could this be what this is all about? These are all questions I hope will be answered in the investigation.
I have not read the complaint. I only know what I have read in the paper and don’t know what the HR investigation report will say, but that’s HR’s job and they are very capable of handling it.
Some are under the impression that 911 Director Buster Brown resigned because he was guilty of the accusations. He might have resigned to try to avoid Commissioner Brown’s attacks on 911 and himself or he may have resigned believing his family or himself could be in danger if he stayed. I don’t know, and this is something we may never know.
Losing the 911 Director Buster Brown because of one complaint (accusation) is awful. Then to have Commissioner Brown try and smear 911 Director Buster Brown’s name based on an accusation, trying to smear other members of the 911 department, County Administrator Steve Rapson, HR Director Lewis Patterson and several commissioners is just wrong.
When Commissioner Brown called me Oct. 6 he said 911 Director Buster Brown was harassing employees. What do you call what Commissioner Brown is doing to our employees?
Randy C. Ognio, Vice Chair
Fayette County Board of Commissioners