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Palm Coast Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 2 years ago

County emergency management planner escapes firing, receives five-day unpaid suspension

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The county’s former Public Safety Emergency Manager came to the defense of Emergency Management Planner Jennifer Stagg, who was facing dismissal.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Flagler County Emergency Management Planner Jennifer Stagg will not be fired, but the county has suspended her for five days without pay and put her on notice that future unexcused tardiness of absenteeism could lead to her dismissal.

Stagg, who has been a county employee for six years, had been charged by her supervisor, Flagler County Public Safety Emergency Manager Steve Garten, with a slew of infractions: repeated absenteeism and lateness; insubordination; improper conduct; making false, vicious or malicious statements concerning another employee or a supervisor; and conduct unbecoming a public employee. 

Former Public Safety Emergency Manager Kevin Guthrie came to Stagg’s defense in a public post on Facebook, calling news of her proposed firing “the most shocking news I have hear in probably 27 years of public safety,” and asking others to show up in her support at her pre-disciplinary hearing. 

The hearing, overseen by Deputy County Administrator Sally Sherman and spread over three days Oct. 31-Nov. 2, found many of the charges against Stagg unfounded. 

A paper signed by Sherman enumerating the results of the hearing states that Sherman found charges of tardiness, absenteeism and insubordination by failing to comply with instructions were justified. 

But for the other charges — improper conduct; making false, vicious or malicious statements concerning another employee or a supervisor; and conduct unbecoming a public employee — Sherman wrote that the evidence did not support the allegations. 

“Based on the evidence and testimony submitted I did not fully support the recommendation for termination due to conflicts between testimony and the documentation by both parties which could not be resolved by me within the time allowed by the pre-disciplinary procedures,” Sherman wrote. 

Sherman wrote that her assessment was that Stagg had not adhered to her work schedule; Sherman recommended the five day suspension without pay, to begin immediately. “Furthermore, consider this as a written notification that any further unexcused tardiness or unexcused absenteeism will result in further disciplinary action up to and including termination,” Sherman wrote.

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