Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where Grievances Go To Die

KSN&C sure is hearing a lot out of the Fayette County Schools' Transportation Department these days.

Unconfirmed allegations range in outrageousness from mundane and spiteful acts of administrative domination to outright denial of employee rights. We hear terms like sexual harassment, misuse of FCPS property, and discrimination being tossed around.

There are a lot of drivers in a district the size of Fayette County. And they seem to have produced a lot of grievances. KSN&C has seen transcripts (but no actual tapes), purporting to have been taken from recorded conversations during due process hearings. If true, they show an administrative effort to block the grievance process and subdue dissent.

We are told that a driver's record is used to determine who gets certain jobs and promotions. That sounds like a good idea. But when a certain African American driver wanted a particular job and was passed over, a grievance was filed. According to FCPS policy, the administration has 5-days to review grievances at each level (there are two in this case) but it took 90-days for the driver to get a response. By that time the job was long gone - to a less qualified white driver.

Put a knick on a bus mirror, and the driver is suspended; if the accident was deemed to have been preventable. It's not too dificult to see how that might be good policy. But some drivers have been wondering about the dings that have appeared on the director's truck from time to time.

And drivers are wondering why a person who is on a long sick leave, would be allowed to take home a FCPS vehicle for their own personal use - thus denying the use of the vehicle to the district in the meantime.

Again, these are unverified reports at this point. But they are consistent across several sources, and perhaps most importantly, did not come from the aggrieved individuals themselves.

Then there's a little generalized grumbling. The superintendent supposedly told the press (I didn't see it) that all drivers are trained to drive in inclement weather. But the drivers say that all training takes place in the summer, not in the snow. ...and that the buses are radio-equiped and could be recalled if necessary, which is different from something Silberman allegedly said.

Lots of smoke is appearing on the horizon. Is there some fire to go along with it? Stay tuned. We have asked for comment from the district and will let readers know what we hear next week.

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