SAN ANTONIO – A supervisor with the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department was suspended six days and placed on a performance improvement plan after an internal investigation determined she entered timecard punches for employees that did not accurately reflect the hours they worked, according to personnel records provided to the KSAT 12 Defenders.
Norma Martinez, a supervisor in the department’s intake unit, was given the suspension in January and later lost an appeal on it.
In August, department officials received complaints that Martinez was violating county policies on time and attendance, favoritism and discrimination.
The complaints stated that on at least eight occasions employees left work without punching out only to have Martinez add a punch out time several hours after they had departed.
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After a source last month provided the Defenders records showing that allegations of favoritism and discrimination were founded, Chief Probation Officer Lynne Wilkerson said the letters were “miswritten” and that corrected versions went out late last year stating the correct violations.
Wilkerson refused a request to be interviewed for this story, telling us instead in a written statement:
"An employee complaint was made regarding irregular time keeping practices in one of the units, alleging favoritism and discrimination. As per our protocol, the complaint was thoroughly investigated. The investigation did not reveal favoritism or discrimination but did reveal time-keeping irregularities.
Once these irregularities were uncovered, the practice was immediately put to a halt and the supervisor has received appropriate discipline. We have also taken steps to tighten up our internal review protocols and closed a gap in our employee notification process.
We take all employee matters, concerns and complaints seriously to provide a fair and healthy workplace for all. Juvenile Probation Department staff has a passion for helping children succeed and that is at the heart of the services we provide to our clients. Ensuring a fair and healthy workplace helps to support this mission. "
Records show on at least one occasion Martinez allowed an employee to use sick leave to cover time that would have previously been covered by flex time.
“Ms. Martinez’s failure to follow the noted personnel policies is of great concern and her actions call into question her judgment and decision making ability, two qualities essential for an effective unit supervisor,” the discipline paperwork states.
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Via telephone last month, Wilkerson declined to call the incidents “timecard fraud” but did describe Martinez’s punishment as extreme and said Martinez has a lot to overcome to remain with the department.
Martinez has worked for the department since 1988, county records show.
Her discipline paperwork for the timecard incidents notes an extensive positive work history and Martinez taking responsibility for her actions as reasons for why she was not demoted.
A previous write-up of Martinez indicates that she was disciplined in March 2009 for creating a hostile work environment.