Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rust termination letter

Here is the body copy of the termination letter sent to Malcolm Rust, effectively ending his tenure as the environmentalist for the Todd County Health Department.

For more on the story see this week's edition of the Standard.

October 9, 2009

Malcolm Rust
PO Box 85
Allensville, KY 42204

Dear Malcolm Rust:

You requested a meeting with me to reconsider the action contemplated in the "Intent to Dismiss" letter provided to you on September 29, 2009. That meeting was held on October 8, 2009 in my office. The meeting was your opportunity to present reasons for me to consider disciplinary options other then termination. During the meeting the incidents described in the September 29, 2009 letter were read individually by your attorney via conference call and you answered such questions.

After considering the information presented at the pre-disciplinary hearing held on October 8, 2009, I have not found sufficient reasons to rescind or alter the intent to dismiss dated September 29, 2009. You are hereby notified that you are officially dismissed from your position as Senior Environmentalist with the Todd County Health Department, 205 McReynolds Drive, Elkton, Ky 42220, effective close of business on October 9, 2009.

In accordance with 902 KAR 8:100 (copies attached), you are notified the undersigned has concluded cause exists for your dismissal for the following specific reasons:

1. (a) "Inefficiency or incompetency in the performance of a duty".
2. (b) "Negligence in the performance of a duty".
3. (c) "Careless, negligent, or improper use of local health department property or equipment".
4. (i) "Disrupting, disturbing, or interfering with management of agency operation;
5. (k) insubordination"
6. (j) "Abusive behavior towards a patient, coworker, or the public in the performance of duty".
7. (q) "Breach of state law, an agency rule, policy, or directive."

Section 2 (4) One (1) or more of the disciplinary actions stated in subsection (1) may be bypassed by the appointing authority based on the severity of the performance or behavior problem.

Section 4: Conditions for Bypassing Progressive Discipline and the Issuance of a Notice of Intent for the Suspension or Dismissal of an Employee:

(1) An appointing authority may issue a notice of intent for the suspension or dismissal of an employee for a serious misconduct infraction.
(2) (2) An example of a misconduct infraction that may be considered serious enough to merit immediate suspension or dismissal include the following:
(b) Stealing or deliberately damaging the property of (1) the agency.

This disciplinary action arises due to the following:

On September 11, 2009 an article was in the Kentucky New Era stating that restaurants had not been inspected in Todd County on a regular basis in 2008 or 2009. In the article you were quoted as saying "there's too much work for one person to do". (Attachment I) I have given you many warnings concerning speaking with the media. It is required by the Department of Public Health (DPH), Environmental Division that restaurants be inspected twice a year. You have failed to do so from 2005-present. (See Attachment II and V) I have given you warnings concerning speaking with media. I also found your food establishment files to be out of order; not one was in the order I requested in 2007 (See Attachment III).
The scores given to restaurants have not been the correct score based upon the findings during the inspection you performed. See Attachment IV.

You previously received the following disciplinary action(s):

On July 2, 2007 you were given a formal write up for violating 902 KAR 8:100 Section 2 (a), (b), (e), (h), (i), and (k). Attachment V

On August 23, 2007 you received a written reprimand for not informing me you had been speaking to the County Attorney concerning legal matters with Liberty Road School and sending the information to your private attorney without obtaining an open records request.

May 7, 2008 you received a verbal warning in regards to your time sheet and coding of your time to cost centers. Your timesheet for pay period ending 08-09-2008 reflected function code 180 for office work; the appropriate function code 129 was provided to you on 08-11-2008, but you continued to use the incorrect function code 180 for 10 more pay periods. Your timesheet for pay period ending 03-21-2009 reflected cost center 635 which does not exist; the appropriate code is 901 and was provided to you one 03-24-2009 yet you continued to use the incorrect code 635 on your time sheet ending 06-27-2009, 07-11-2009, and 08-08-2009 Your time sheet you submitted for the 7th pay period of the year you coded your time for Food Service training (cost center 500) to cost center 520: Public Facilities. in FY 10 you have miscoded 5 time sheets out of 7. You have been provided several copies of cost centers and function codes for your time sheets.Please see attachment VII which can be found in the Public Health Practice Reference along in your Employee Handbook you were given in December 2008. I informed you on June 30-2009 that any future miscoding of your timesheets would result in further disciplinary action. You questioned me as to whether any disciplinary action could be taken against you over your timesheet being miscoded and I referenced you to the Administrative Regulations and Disciplinary Procedures include in your Employee Handbook.

On July 16, 2008 you received a Written Warning for not following up on a nuisance complaint called into the health department in july 14, 2008. This complaint was reported to the Judge Executive's office and was followed-up by the Judge Executive's office and after review there was no documentation, no file, no address and as of July 16, 2008 you had not completed any work on the report. You were therefore addressed on not keeping files in the rabies case and reports. There was positive rabies case in the county (skunk) and there was no documentation, no file, no address, nothing.

At this time I followed up with my written request for you to organize your food service file in chronological order and the folders had become in disarray again and I noted to straighten your files and have them in he correct dated order.
August 13, 2008 you received a Written Reprimand for not submitting your travel requests on time for the end of fiscal year 2008. All staff was given a memo dated May 27, 2008 stating the end of the fiscal year travel would be due June 16, 2008. Your travel request for June was submitted in late July which as a result will affect fiscal year 2009's finances.

November 8, 2008 you were given a Verbal Warning when it was discovered that Red Top BBQ had begun building onto their restaurant without the appropriate permit issued from the health department. When questioned about this matter you noted you did see the owner adding onto the building before I addressed this with you. This is a violation of 902 KAR 45:005 Retail food code.

December 2, 2008 you spoke with the Todd County Standard without permission to speak to he media and you were quoted as making derogatory comments were made concerning the Amish/Mennonites in reference to the schools. I spoke with you and gave you another Verbal Warning concerning this matter at which time you stated what you had told the paper was much worse when you spoke "off the record". I emphasized my warning about speaking to the media and warned you to never speak about any group of people in the context you did. I also informed you that further disregard for a directive you have been given will result in further disciplinary action leading up to termination.

January 29, 2009 you were given a Verbal Warning as your travel reimbursement request did not match your time sheets or your daily reports. You were given a copy of your daily reports and time sheets showing what needed to be corrected in order for your travel to reflect your work.

January 29, 2009 you were given a Verbal Warning stating when time sheets are due; your time sheet was late for pay period ending 01-24-2009. Your timesheet should have been submitted 01-23-09, but was submitted 01-27-09. Timesheets not provided in a timely manner may prevent delays in the entire agency processing of payroll or can result in extra agency hours spent by the payroll officer to key information at a later date that is unnecessary expense to the agency and is a disruption to services.

July 2, 2009 I gave you a letter giving you extra hours to complete food inspections that were behind. I provided you a list of 20 inspections I wanted completed. During the first week of the extra hours I was notified that an inspector was in the county inspection restaurants. I called guy Delius, Head of Environmental, DPH to find out who had been in the county. Dave Miller, Regional Food Inspector, called me to introduce himself and apologized for not letting me know he was going to be doing work in Todd County. I asked him why he had come to help since I had given you extra time to do your inspections and he stated you had called him requesting help with your inspections. This occurred without approval from me, the Appointing Authority.

You were give a written warning stating food establishments are required to be inspected 2 times a year and according to report 57 this has not been done in Todd County from 2005-present. I asked you to provide me all the inspection reports when they were completed and you failed to provide me copies. Also the list of inspections I required you to perform between July 13th and July 31st, 2009; 4 inspections are still not in the system as being completed.

September 29, 2009 you were placed on Administrative Leave for an intent to dismiss letter. In the letter I requested you turn in keys to the building, camera, and your cell phone which was issued to you by the Todd County Health Department. You did give me these items at 9:45am before you left. At 10:30am I opened the phone and noticed you had removed and taken the SIM card from the health department issued phone. I called your home once this was recognized and you stated you wanted the address book from the phone. I told you I would make you a copy of the contacts by bringing the phone to the wireless store and requested you bring the SIM card back to the health department immediately. You stated you would bring it back that day. I called the health department's wireless carrier and had to deactivate the SIM card since it was taken by you without my knowledge and it health department property.

September 30, 2009 you had not returned the SIM card by close of business September 29, 2009 as you stated. I called the Todd County police department and filed a complaint of theft of health department property. You did not return the SIM card until October 1, 2009. Your actions resulted in theft of health department property, extra cost to purchase a new phone since the SIM card was no longer activated and time to file a police complaint to have health department property returned from you that you were not allowed to possess.

September 29, 2009 after you were placed on administrative leave Shelia Griggs went to your office to see what onsite requests were in need of assistance. At this time Ms. Griggs brought me a file you had made on Vicky Poindexter. In the file was a check for the onsite in the amount of $200 and only the application for the onsite which was dated "9-22-02." During the onsite review in 2007 you were told that plans must be submitted along with an application for an onsite. You have not followed the environmental procedures in keeping records correct in the onsite program.

September 29, 2009 a representative of Clifty Cafe called concerning a restaurant inspection you told him you would do the prior week. He stated he had called you several times for your assistance, but for 4 days you did not show up when you said you would. He also stated he needed to pay his permit fee for the cafe. When reviewing the file it was noted you calculated the wrong amount of money for the permit and you did not charge for the drive thru which would've been a loss of $125.00 to the health department.

After I gave you your letter of Intent to Dismiss on September 29, 2009 you made the following abusive comments to me:
"Are you prepared for the wrath you will have for this?"
"So, this is Malcolm Rust versus Leslie Daniels?"
"Whose idea was this? Yours or Franfort's?"
"You have no idea what you are getting into."

October 8. 2009 Dave Miller came to the health department to do food inspections that are behind. While looking through files he noted to me there were some inspections that had been completed, but not entered in the system as being completed. You stated during your pre-disciplinary hearing you didn't have the adequate amount of time to do food inspections. I have reviewed your time sheets from fiscal year 2008 and 2009 and you have logged 552 hours of office time in fiscal year 2008 and 108 hours of office time in fiscal year 2009. This is ample time to keep inspections up-to-date. Shelia Griggs, Administrative Assistant, keys your data entry, and you have not entered any of your onsites into the system. The onsite you entered was May 29, 2008. You attended the training for data entry. Todd County shows a total of only 14 onsites since 2007. You have also informed me for 2 years you would be offering a food handler's safety course which is required as part of your duties as an environmentalist for Todd County. You have yet to offer one course in your 10 years of employment.

You have received written reprimands and verbal warnings stating that any further violations or discipline issues would be met with more progressive disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal. You were given a copy of the disciplinary actions several times and it is included in your employee handbook you received December 2008.

A request to appear before the appointing authority was submitted within six (6) working days of receipt of this intent to dismiss notice. The meeting was scheduled within six (6) working days after receipt of your request to appear, excluding the day the request was received.

No later than five (5) working days after the meeting I determined there was not sufficient evidence to rescind the intent to dismiss and therefore, your termination is final as of closing on October 9, 2009.

As of October 9, 2009 you are no longer and employee of the Todd County Health Department. Your Administrative Leave ends at the close of business today, October 9, 2009. Your last pay check and expense checks will be sent to you via certified mail.

As you are an employee with status, you may appeal this action to the Local Health Department Employment Personnel Council within fifteen (15) days of the effective date of this dismissal decision. To appeal, you must complete the attached form and direct it to the address indicated on the form; it shall be considered filed on the date it is post marked.


Leslie Daniels, MS
Public Health Director I
Todd County Health Department


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch! What a letter!

10:39 PM, October 14, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like to see a letter in response by Malcolm Rust to see and hear his side of the story.It sounds like Mr. Rust was just not doing the job he was hired to do , but really hard to tell without more detail information and facts from both and all sides on the matter and story.

1:44 AM, October 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This letter makes me very angry because Mr. Rust has ALWAYS BEEN EXTREMELY HONEST, FAIR, AND HARDWORKING. He is by far THE VERY BEST ENVIRONMENTALIST Todd County has ever had! He is the victim of Ms. Daniels' wrath because he would not pass the Amish school when its septic system did not comply with state regulations.
We learned in a court hearing that Ms. Daniels had an environmentalist from Muhlenberg Co. inspect the school using a whole different set of criteria than the rest of us must comply with. Of course, it passed even though it had no commodes to flush. Commode seats were placed directly over the septic tank with holes large enough to let a child fall through. Gutter drain pipe was used for urinals. Ms. Daniels herself testified that we would all get the flies off this. Ms. Daniels lives in Clarksville, Tenn., so why should she care about the people of Todd County or Kentucky? If Ms. Daniels has her way, the Amish will be allowed to do whatever they please. Is this fair to the rest of us who must comply with existing health laws or face fines and jail? Remember that Todd County is setting the precedent in this matter for all of Kentucky!

7:54 PM, October 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The evaluation the Environmental Staff from Frankfort shows the truth about Malcolm. He is useless. 'Nuff said. Stop being sheep people. Learn the facts, not what some idiots in the county are saying.

1:00 PM, October 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is this evaluation of the environmental staff from Frankfort so that we may learn the truth? The real truth is that Mr. Rust is being harassed simply for trying to enforce existing health laws, and the Amish are not complying. Also, Ms. Daniels needs to be fired if the health board members had a backbone to stand up for what is right. You are the one who needs to learn the real truth. Are you Amish?

7:21 PM, November 20, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is that according to Kentucky Statutes that govern Public Health, ONLY THE LOCAL BOARD OF HEALTH, along with the CHAIRMAN, Todd Co Judge-Executive Arthur Green, is the ONLY ENTITY IN THIS STATE, with the authority to discipline or dismiss a local health director. I'm tired of hearing our elected officials label every disaster at the health dept as "a personnel issue", and act as though they don't know what procedure to follow. Todd County's Attorney, (the health dept's too!)should be well-versed on Kentucky Public Health Law,considering the issues piling up that concern Daniels over the past years (not months). They all are full aware of this and have been for years. There is no Frankfort state board that governs the county health dept. Now that children have been potentially harmed, as Green was warned about years ago, perhaps action will be taken. The half-threat to the paper that the public report (and that's the only thing that's gotten his hands out of his pockets!), may hinder his ability to discipline the director is disgusting. Stop lying and making excuses! Rust is a good man and he is just the latest of Daniels' victims. Why is the local health board sitting around in closed meetings,after YEARS, with the knowlege and ammunition to do something? Whose interests does my county government have?

8:27 PM, November 25, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are any of you that believe Mr. Rust is being picked on for real or just a chance to put others down?
How many of us would still have our jobs if our performance was so poor? Or is this because Mr. Rust was disciplined by a woman or someone you people look at as an outsider?
When will Todd County ever try to move forward instead of behind? No wonder industry won't come here. Too many old timers making it clear they are not wanted.
Call a spade a spade but this seems more like a distraction to what is going on in Todd County.
Does any other businessake news when firing an employee or just the health department?

11:09 PM, November 28, 2009  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home