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168 Days: 9 April 2011 - A Watershed Moment

By Ken Snyder

Once I knew that DOL wasn't going to answer my questions, I was curious as to just how much investigating they had really done on my case. I knew they asked to interview people, but what about all the evidence I provided? Had they really looked into it, and asked about how BPU could say I was a "poor performer" yet was able to complete all the work I listed? Once I got a copy of the file through the Freedom of Information Act, which arrived on 9 April, a lot of my questions were answered.

Most of the file (and it is a rather large one) is copies of items I either have sent to them or received from them. But there are some items that stood out:

My Responses To The Interviews:

Clark (statement here):

Question #13:
You weren't "aware of any time" I wasn't there? Yet in Questions #14 & #15 you talk about "there is some paperwork that needs to be turned in downtown" -- YOU OBVIOUSLY KNEW ABOUT THAT TIME I WASN'T THERE.
Question #29:
Evaluations were made out every 30 days after you took over on 1 April? Then what happened to my evaluation in May?
Question #31:
"Somone should sign them" -- so why didn't it happen?
Question #34:
In Clark's interview he says (regarding employee evaluations) "We review it with the employee also" -- THIS DID NOT HAPPEN WITH THE 21 JUNE EVALUATION.
Question #35:
He also admits it was made out on 21 June, right in the middle of my two-week ANG duty.

DeGraeve (statement here):

Question #12:
It's interesting to know that in January 2011 DeGraeve now knows about paperwork that has to be filled out when someone goes on military leave, but never says anything to me when I notified him of my military duty weeks almost a year earlier.
Question #18:
You say "I can pretty much remember everything" but in question #20 you're "not really sure" how many evaluations you made out on me?
Question #19:
DeGraeve also says "he wasn't doing anything on his own, he was what we call a ride along" -- in spite of all the work I list here and the FIVE NEW CABINETS I assembled in the little more than five months at BPU. This is also contrary to what Dunn says.
Question #21:
DeGraeve also admits that "If it is signed (the evaluation), that means that my boss (being Clark) and I met with them on their evaluation" -- the 21 June evaluation does not even have his signature.
Question #23:
Another admission that the 21 June evaluation was written while I was away on National Guard duty.
Question #28:
DeGraeve says (regarding my abilities) "if I needed a light bulb changer that would be fine" and apparently mentions going out to work on a "box" (apparently in reference to a signal controller) that I couldn't handle the work, yet conveniently forgets that I successfully programmed new signal controllers (see comments regarding Eagle and Multisonics under 28 May 2010) and these controllers are currently in operation on the streets of Kansas City, Kansas.

Castle (statement here - NOTE: although the names are redacted their responses give them away):

Question #7:
Care to explain just how the camera controller module got replaced at K-32 and Kansas Avenue, along with discovering and substituting the lightning arrestor that had a problem?
Question #13:
"Wasn't the kind to volunteer to go out on calls?" Maybe that was because I was handling calls on my own, see the list here.

Sisson(statement here - NOTE: although the names are redacted their responses give them away):

Question #8 and #9:
"Initiative wasn't there?" I didn't take the initiative to re-draw the location drawing at 10th & Wahington Boulevard? I didn't take the initiative to finish the test cabinet you and Dunn started? I didn't take the initiative to keep building cabinets that were supposed to be our project?
Question #16:
"scuttlebutt in the office that the guy they selected was in the army" - Sisson is an Air Force veteran, Sisson saw me come into the shop once in my Air Force uniform, and Sisson had to see the picture of my wife and I (where I was in my Air Force dress blue uniform) on my bench, but the guy they selected was in the army?

Dunn (statement here - NOTE: although the names are redacted their responses give them away):

Question #7:
I "wasn't one to go ride along" -- which one is correct, you or DeGraeve? By the way, neither of us initially were able to troubleshoot the cabinet on 28 May, were we? But I stuck with it.
Question #14:
Really, you don't remember how many evaluations you had during your probationary period?
Question #15:
So, you always had an opportunity to sign your evaluations? I didn't.

General Notes:

The Final Word On Phone Calls:
Over and over, comments are made about my personal cell phone use. I made a complete listing from my cell phone statements, the information taken from these statements showed in slightly under 110 work days I had 48 calls either from or to other traffic signal technicians or to BPU itself. There were 18 days I had no phone activity at all, and on six days my phone use was with other signal technicians exclusively. Overall, my calls average three a day (including BPU-related calls) -- is that excessive? Is it excessive compared to the working foreman or the two senior signal technicians? On this argument I'd take my chances with a jury, and I'd like to see how DeGraeve, Sisson and Castle's records compare.

The comment was made that my phone would ring during the morning meeting. Given a standard 8:00AM to 8:30AM morning meeting (I don't believe the meetings ever went longer than 30 minutes) my records show my phone actually had a call answered six times, and four times between 8:30AM and 9:00AM -- and only three were school-related. I distinctly remember Sisson's phone ringing far more times -- and comments were made that they were getting calls from a Unified Government (Kansas City, Kansas/Wyandotte County) Traffic Engineer who was not one of DeGraeve's favorites (see the fourth paragraph of Learning The Ropes), one Sisson seemed to be more willing to do work for than he was to do work for DeGraeve.

Between the reaction of BPU's "Ethics Committee" to my situation (already reported) and this file, it's my opinion that integrity at BPU is nonexistent.

Next: Unanswered Questions
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The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.