Former Starke County Veterans Service Officer Terry Turner has filed an age discrimination claim against the county commissioners over his recent termination. He was fired during the June 15th county commissioners meeting. Turner, 67, advises WKVI News he filed a claim on Friday, July 10th with the state civil rights commission office in South Bend, and it has been forwarded to Indianapolis for review.
Turner also filed a grievance against the commissioners claiming President Kent Danford never gave him any oral or written warning about any improper actions and asked for a list of veterans who have complained about his job performance. The commissioners conducted an executive session grievance hearing with Turner and upheld their action during their July 6th meeting, citing his status as an at-will employee.
Turner contends the county did not follow its own policy with regard to the matter. He cites a provision in the handbook that reads “The commissioners will hear and render a decision up on the grievance at their next regularly scheduled meeting. In compliance with due process requirements (a) written notice of the issues to be addressed, and (b) an opportunity to be heard, will be provided to all concerned parties.” That provision is part of the county’s overall grievance policy, which states grievances are to be heard and resolved at the lowest possible levels. If a matter cannot be resolved between and employee and supervisor or department head, it will be heard by the commissioners. In Turner’s case, he was appointed by and reports to the commissioners.
He also claims the commissioners ignored steps and procedures for progressive disciplinary action.