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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lee County Officials Giving Promotions but not Employee Evaluations

LEE COUNTY - Getting promotions without reviews! Fox 4 exposing what some say are major problems with Lee County's hiring and promotions policy and this issue goes all the way to the top. Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason has been working on this one for more than a month.

When it comes to Lee County's rules and regulations, Bill Fussell knows what he's talking about. He worked for the county for nearly two decades and last served as the county's tax collector. When we showed him what county officials have been doing since he left he was not very happy, especially when it comes to employee evaluations. Fussell says, “That was one of the problems when I was Tax Collector is they were promoting and before I got there they would just randomly pick people, you know there was never a performance evaluations or anything. They did it by, mainly by, how much they liked someone."

Not much has changed since then. Four in your Corner has been investigating Lee County's hiring policies for the past month. We found officials promoting workers without conducting the required performance evaluations and not advertising the jobs. Fussell says, "First of all you want the best person for the job. Second of all you want fairness among all the people to have a chance. Thirdly, it should be advertised anyway."

Lee County Manager Karen Hawes
 According to the county's policy manual, "It is the policy of the county that the job performance of each employee should be evaluated periodically by the employee's supervisor.” Today, Lee County manager Karen Hawes sent Fox 4 an email stating, “The policy reads supervisors "should" perform evaluations and it is not “required” under policy."

Fussell disagrees, "This is a mandatory guideline, It's not something that you can choose to do if you want or choose not to do.” When we told Fussell that Hawes believes evaluations are not required Fussell replied, ”Well, I don't agree with that."

Our investigation found many other employees who have not had recent evaluations, For instance,
Ann Arnall with Human Services was last evaluated in 2008.
Barbara Manzo was also last reviewed in 2008
Rosanna Music was evaluated only once in 20 months.
Stephanie Figueroa's last evaluation was in 2008 and her boss, Human Resources Director Christine Brady, hasn't had an evaluation since 2007.

We found some of these people got big promotions, nonetheless. In October, 2009 after Karen Hawes was hired as the County Manager she appointed three people to Director positions without advertising the job positions. Those three people are Ann Arnall, Barbara Manzo and Christine Brady.
Fusselll feels the county should have advertised for these important director positions and supervisors should have at least evaluated these employees before they received their promotions. If you disagree with county manager Karen Hawes and think officials should indeed be conducting employee evaluations every year, you can contact your county commissioner. Go to our website; it's ‘’ and click on the Big Red 4.
To view the Fox 4 report click here:

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