81ºF

Calvert demands transparency, whistleblower policy as investigation into high-ranking county officials expands

Letter requesting records, new policy comes days after Defenders revealed ongoing investigation

Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert.
Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Citing potential conflicts of interest, Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert on Thursday asked for records related to an ongoing investigation of the county manager’s office, according to a copy of the letter provided to the KSAT 12 Defenders.

The letter asks investigators from Kelmar Global Investigations to hand over written information, recordings, photos and other materials to Commissioners Court by March 4.

Memo: Bexar County Manager David Smith directed employees to receive absolution

Sunday, a Defenders investigation revealed a list of misconduct allegations lodged against high-ranking county officials as well as members of its budget office.

Calvert’s letter claims that “between 20 and upwards of over 80 county and former county employees have come to file complaints or comments” with Kelmar, an outside firm brought in late last year after a longtime county employee accused Assistant County Manager Tina Smith-Dean of harassment and bullying.

Assistant County Manager Tina Smith-Dean.
Assistant County Manager Tina Smith-Dean. (KSAT)

Multiple sources have said the employee who filed that complaint was escorted from work Wednesday and placed on administrative leave.

Calvert has also asked that Bexar County draft a whistleblower protection policy “so that any member of the county staff is protected from retaliation.”

County staffers who have spoken with the Defenders the past two months have painted a work environment where the same set of rules does not apply to all employees.

Kelmar’s president provided the following email Thursday evening:

While we always try to be responsive and cooperative regarding our fellow investigative reporters, please be advised that this is still an on-going investigation and we are attempting to be sensitive to those involved. We are therefore not able to make any comments at this time.

During an interview earlier this month Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said staff with workplace issues did not need to worry about their concerns being heard and went as far as to say they could lodge their complaints during Commissioners Court.

County employees have scoffed at that suggestion, claiming there are no protections in place for employees who voice their complaints publicly.


About the Author: