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11/26/2012 6:00:00 AM
Former Mohave County employee appeals firing

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

Former county employee and county supervisor candidate Jerry Sides will face the first of a series of hearings to appeal his firing when he presents evidence to the County's Merit Commission Thursday morning.

Sides lost his job as a senior facilities and grounds worker for the Mohave County Public Works Department in July after two public works employees accused him of campaigning for the Board of Supervisors while on the job.

Sides ran against Travin Pennington and incumbent Gary Watson for the Republican nomination for the Board of Supervisors District 1 seat this year. Watson later won the nomination and the election.

A July investigative report by the county found that Sides made comments during a holiday luncheon at the Road Department office "that clearly could be reasonably interpreted as campaigning."

The investigator also found that Sides violated the county's policy not to have contact with the other two employees who were placed on leave after placing a few phone calls to them.

The investigator also found that Sides had received several personal calls from his parents and family on his county cell phone during a three-month period. None of them appear to be tied to his campaign.

The report also found some inconsistencies between Sides' work orders and the GPS data for his county vehicle.

Sides denies the allegations and believes the two employees were encouraged to file a grievance against him because County Manager Ron Walker and Watson wanted him out of the supervisors race.

County officials, including Walker and Watson, have repeatedly declined to discuss Sides' case.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: Martye Darbey

Hey, everybody who wrote in on Jerry Sides's behalf!
We all agree he got the short end of a filthy stick. Now, let's all show up at his nine o'clock hearing this coming Thursday. Hope to see you at the County Administration Building in the Board of Supervisors meeting room so we can let Jerry know he has our support.

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: patty hertz

"clearly could be reasonably interpreted as campaigning." Really!? Clearly, could be reasonably!? Interpretation is subjective, and that quote is nothing but typical lawyerese leading the wittness (or audience).Objection!

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: Lots of Luck You need it

Yes "Lots of Luck You'r going to need it"!
Going against the establishment in this County is taboo! Look what they done to Brad Elico in the Hackberry School District, a man that only done his job and when he refused to resign facing outrages lies he was persicuted to no end!
He was placed on an illegal house arrest situation by two vindictive "Female" Board members.
Never one time in the court was He ever allowed to tell His side of the story!
First Judge decided the Board Had commited "minor" violations involving "Open Meeting Law", Judge also specified these two Board members had acted out of "Bias" so could not be part of a hearing board!
No hering Board ever heard the case, the Board terminated his contract, then what gave all apperance,s of "Rail Roading" and conspiracy by the Board and County officials He lost all in Court, without ever getting to tell His side!
Working for anything in the County in official copacity can be dabgerous to ones well being!
So once again "Good Luck"!

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Good luck with the merit commission. I tried this one time for a wrongful firing and was left an email at the last minute (last hour on Friday for a Monday morning hearing) advising me from personnel the 30 pages I had prepared along with 17 letters from fellow employees and actual customers siding with me would not be allowed. No explanation why. No time left to try to find out why.

At the meeting, something entirely different was brought up by the head of the department. I tried bringing up the real substance and terrible wrongs that had been done to me and was not allowed to even speak. My month's work of proof was completely ignored. With nothing from me being allowed, they ruled on the side of the lies from the head of the department.

Later, running into one of my accusers in a store, she nearly ran her cart into a display trying to get away from facing me in public w/out her lying cronies by her side. It was hilarious but they do destroy lives in this county for this has happened to many.

Work hard and do your job, put in Saturdays for free to help catch up, etc and you are in for big trouble because you scare them.

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: gun owner 000

Taken in context, nearly all of the County's upper management have made campaign statements, especially our elected stooges.

Jerry simply stepped on the wrong toes, and now they're going to waste hundreds and thousands of dollars to oppose his rehiring..
The issue of using a cell phone is just an act of desparation on the part of the County BOS. If one were to check THEIR phone and GPS records, they would all be fired. We never had this problem when the County still used radios...instead of cell phones.

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: Frederick Williams

I wouldn't be surprised to see this hearing rushed through before the end of the year with no change in the outcome. If I were Sides I would wait until the next Board Of Supervisors is sworn in.

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: Hiram Smith

The city and county personnel boards have been stacked with cronies who will vote the way management wants without regard to objectivity or accurate information.

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: justanobody sr

being an EX county employee,
I can say 100% of county employees use their county phone for personal phone calls, including the county manager, and everyone on down!!!!!!!
to bring up Sides for this is absurd, OR
everyone else needs to be brought up on charges also! (fat chance)
looks like he (sides) is being made into a scape goat!
this is something the county REALLY doesn't want to get into!

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: Justice Is Selective

I am continually outraged that certain high level County employees participate in the same kind of activities that this terminated employee is accused of, but with no similar consequences!

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