Employees not following proper reporting channels resulted in Thursday morning mass e-mail to more than 900 e-mail addresses by Ray Gosack, the Fort Smith city administrator.
In the e-mail, Gosack said employees had not followed proper procedures in reporting employment-related concerns directly to members of the Fort Smith Board of Directors.
"These actions are contrary to the city's policies, and undermine the form of government which Fort Smith voters have had in place for more than 45 years."
In a phone call, Gosack said he could not go into specific detail of what brought about the e-mail, which was also sent to members of the media, since it involved personnel matters.
"We've had a couple of occurrences where employees have taken their concerns to directors," he said.
The concerns were brought to board members in private, Gosack said, adding that concerns were never raised by city staff at board meetings or study sessions.
As to why two city employees felt the need to bypass supervisors and go directly to board members, Gosack said he could not provide an answer.
"I can't explain why the employees did that. Only they can explain that," he said.
The specific cases happened at two different times, according to Gosack. He said the first happened earlier this week and the other happened nearly three months ago.
"One was an e-mail contact that went to all board members. That was the one about three weeks ago," Gosack explained.
The incident that occurred earlier this week was a telephone contact, though Gosack could not release the name of the board member involved in the incident, once again citing the city's policy against discussing personnel matters.
Should a city employee violate the city's policy again, Gosack said the staffer would be reprimanded.
"It could be anywhere from an oral warning to termination," he said, adding that the two employees who had gone to board members with employment-related concerns had been "dealt with."
FULL TEXT OF MEMO
The city’s management team is committed to providing every employee with a work environment that supports employees in their service to the citizens and businesses of Fort Smith. We strive to be supportive and fair in every dealing with employees.
I realize that we won’t be perfect in this endeavor all of the time. When problems arise, we’re committed to resolving them in ways that are equitable to all concerned. Our policies provide for a chain of command to resolve concerns as quickly as possible. The policies allow for unresolved concerns to be brought to the attention of higher levels in the organization, and ultimately to me.
In recent weeks, we’ve had occurrences where employees have bypassed these procedures and taken their employment-related concerns to members of the board of directors. These actions are contrary to the city’s policies, and undermine the form of government which Fort Smith voters have had in place for more than 45 years. Employees who violate the well-established policies for resolving employment or work related concerns subject themselves to disciplinary procedures.
If you have a concern about your employment or workplace, please follow the chain of command in your department. If the problem or concern is your supervisor or department head, you have flexibility to take your concern to the human resources department or to administration. Your concern shouldn’t be taken to the mayor or to members of the board of directors.
Our goal is to treat every employee with dignity and respect, even when we encounter difficult circumstances. If you have an employment or workplace concern, please use the chain of command to have it addressed. Thanks for your cooperation.