This post is in reference to this story by Joe Nelson at The Sun: $58 million claim against the county
I am going to be politically incorrect. If this women’s husband was the great guy everyone says he was, and I’m sure he was, I hope he is rolling in his grave. And I hope he comes back to haunt her. This is flat out over-the-top greed by someone trying to get rich from someone else’s death. Shame on her.
I will base the rest of my comments on 30-plus years with the county. I realize some things may have changed.
Back in the day, all employees were given two hours with pay for a non-mandatory Christmas party. Then, of course, it became a “holiday celebration.” It was one of these “holiday celebrations” that resulted in me becoming a union steward. I suspect Deidre Rodriguez still rues the day she made that happen, but I digress.
In the early 2000s someone decided that giving two hours off, which was not a negotiated benefit, was a gift of public funds. Offices dealt with it in different ways. Some tried to keep the parties within an hour as lunches are unpaid anyway. Others would make employees who wanted to attend green-slip the time, while others would conduct “training” during their holiday celebrations to justify it being done on county time. I do not know the current county or EHS policy.
No matter the policy, the office “Christmas party” is not a mandatory function. It is more often than not held off-site. I cannot say if employees are forced to green-slip time or if the county allows them to be conducted on county time or not. Honestly, in my opinion, they should be done during the lunch hour or after work. Way too many problems result from those parties.
The December massacre occurred at one such party. It was not on county property. Whether employees were paid to go or not does make a difference, but it was still a voluntary event. For the most part, I do not see how the county is liable in any way.
There is one possible exception to this and I doubt we will ever know the answer. I have seen the county ignore the fact that they have extremely angry, mentally unstable individuals working for them. Some of you might remember the eligibility worker that was found dancing naked on the CHP unit after she went to her co-worker’s home and tried to beat up the co-worker’s children. The story has been told on this blog before and there was an incredible amount of concerning behavior leading up to that incident. Even after she left the county, the county hired her back. I don’t know if she is still working for the county or not but that is just one example of how badly county background checks and mental health standards suck.
Were there any personnel complaints against the shooter prior to the incident? Unless a case ends up in federal court in front of a jury, we will probably never know. Human Resources has a lengthy history of covering up such behavior and looking the other way. Reporting such things is a joke. There is good reason why so many employees are skeptical about the county’s purported plan to upgrade security. When they hire felons currently on parole, employees with a long history of substance abuse, and employees with a long history of domestic violence, what happened on December 2 could easily happen again and not involve a terrorist in any way.
But barring proof that the county knew that the shooter was mentally unstable, I think this lawsuit is nothing more than a money grab. I think it is shameful behavior on the part of the wife and the attorneys.
Update: A good source who read the above wrote to say that despite was is being reported in the media,the event at IRC was NOT a holiday party but a training event. If that is the case, it changes things slightly I suppose. But I still don’t see it as the county’s fault that a terrorist decided to hit the event. If anything, the is the Fed’s fault for not properly screening the wife of the terrorist.
Either way, $58 million is just flat out greed no matter the circumstances.