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Gertsch defends HR manager

By September 12, 2011

CSD Board President Guy Gertsch responded to local media allegations that Human Resources Director Tracey Lynn Lowry either hired or promoted friends, family members and even her own nanny. Lowry was the alleged whistleblower in the district’s charges against General Manager John Skeel, who’s in the process of being reinstated.

Gertsch confirmed that Lowry’s husband Joel volunteered to perform routine website maintenance in October 2010, (reported as October 2011 in the local news story) and was given a contract for his service in March.

The function was previously performed by an IT assistant on the district payroll.

Gertsch took issue with local reporting on Lowry’s situation that depicted her husband Joel as “filling the gap” of a laid off district employee.

In a phone conversation Gertsch assured Village Life, “Your reporting was spot on. Other reports got it wrong.”

Gertsch clarified that Joel Lowry performs routine website maintenance, a small portion of the responsibilities of the position that was eliminated.

“IT Manager Brian Kelly, not Tracey Lynn Lowry, is responsible for hiring, supervising and, if needed, firing IT staff,” he said.

In March 2011, Kelly approached Interim General Manager Sandi Kukkola and proposed compensating Joel Lowry in light of his five months of volunteer service.

He was put on a contract since the role was performed off site. “Tracey Lynn Lowry had/has nothing to do with the contact negotiation or supervision of this contracted employee,” said Gertsch.

Gertsch also sought to clarify rumors reported in other local media that Tracey Lynn Lowry hired her nanny.

The nanny does, in fact, work for the district, said Gertsch. She started with the district several years prior to Lowry, and has served as a life guard, swim instructor and head guard, reporting directly to a recreation supervisor.

Tracey Lynn Lowry has been employed by the district since 2009. “Neither individuals employment at the district has anything to do with their personal relationship.”

Teri Gotro supervises the district administrative positions and secured the nanny’s services for part-time filing in her department. Gotro, not Lowry, is responsible for the position, said Gertsch, who is frustrated over the public’s erroneous impression that district department director vacancies have resulted in Lowry being responsible for hiring and firing of employees.

“[The responsiblity] rests squarely with the line managers, the assistant general manager and general manager,” he said. “The HR manager does not hold hiring and firing responsibilities within the district.”

The Human Resources manager is only gets involved if the manager is uncomfortable firing an employee and asks for help, he added.

Mike Roberts

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Discussion | 5 comments

  • Beau RiggsSeptember 13, 2011 - 9:57 am

    "Gertsch confirmed that Lowry’s husband Joel volunteered to perform routine website maintenance in October 2010, (reported as October 2011 in the local news story) and was given a contract for his service in March. The function was previously performed by an IT assistant on the district payroll." Sounds like "filling the gap" to me.

    Reply
  • CuriousSeptember 13, 2011 - 10:51 am

    So why is it that Lowry's husband can get compensated for "volunteering" hours but Jill Thomas and the other-gal-whose-name-I-can't-remember can't get paid for the extra hours that they put in (non-paid/"volunteer" hours) at their respective jobs? I thought that was one of the gripes the Board had against Skeel: that he attempted to "sneak" into the budget the extra $$ for Jill Thomas's extra hours. They also said there was a hiring freeze. Sounds like a double-standard to me.

    Reply
  • Guy GertschSeptember 14, 2011 - 12:18 pm

    Quick clarification : Joel Lowry is not getting compensated for volunteer hours. District employees do not get compensated for volunteer hours. There is not a hiring freeze in the district.

    Reply
  • CuriousSeptember 15, 2011 - 3:19 pm

    Right. "In March 2011, Kelly approached Interim General Manager Sandi Kukkola and proposed compensating Joel Lowry in light of his five months of volunteer service. He was put on a contract since the role was performed off site. " So why not put Jill Thomas and that other gal on an additional contract/pay "in light of their fill-in-the-blank of volunteer service?" How or why is it that one person (who happens to be Lowry's husband) merits a contract because he previously did voluntary work and another person isn't recognized (and compensated) for also doing voluntary work?

    Reply
  • HughSeptember 15, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    Board is not trustworthy. This whole business with Mr. Skeel, lies and deception from upper management and the board to the people that intrusted them to do the work of the people does not pass the sniff test. The board is about as trustworthy as John Edwards in my opinion. Enjoy your last term.

    Reply

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