During the Poteet City Council Meeting on July 6, Mayor Pro Tem and council member place 1 Nicholas Sanchez read out loud the hostile work environment complaints made by employees filed against newly elected Mayor Denise Sanchez.
The discussion was prompted by the “New Business” agenda item under part G proposed by N. Sanchez. Mayor Sanchez brought up that the city employees should not have spoken to Mayor Pro Tem about these complaints.
“By our code of conduct, if any of us are made aware of a hostile work environment, we must report it,” said N. Sanchez. “This prompted my agenda items. If you want I can read these complaints out loud.”
Legal counsel Molly Solis advised that N. Sanchez should read the complaints verbatim as made by city employees. Normally, complaints by city employees are made through the City Administrator but Eric Jimeniz retired June 9.
Mayor Sanchez was given the choice to have the complaints read in open session or closed session. She chose to have them read in an open session.
Mayor Sanchez stated, “Let’s go, let’s have some fun.”
N. Sanchez read the three complaints verbatim. Each complaint took place at City Hall. The first complaint occurred on June 21 at 8:15 a.m. when Mayor Sanchez noticed the city administrator wasn’t working that day and felt that her approval was needed. In the complaint, it was stated that Mayor Sanchez was told that she needed to fill out an Open Request Form for personnel information. The complaint stated that Mayor Sanchez was on a phone call while confidential information was being discussed. The complaint was finished out by saying that the Mayor wasn’t very respectful throughout the interaction.
The second complaint was filed by another city employee source during the same scenario of the first complaint. Mayor Sanchez threatened to write the employees up. In the report, it was stated that the mayor was speaking badly about employees to the public.
After the second complaint, Mayor Sanchez said “Like I said, Mr. Sanchez, first of all, when someone lies about you, they’re gonna completely be lying.”
N. Sanchez continued to read the second complaint which stated, “Ms. Sanchez comes in with a demanding inquiry and solely based off mentality ‘I’m the mayor, what I say goes and I can do what I want.’” The employee further stated in the complaint they feel bullied by Ms. Sanchez and she talks to them in a very intimidating tone.
The third and final complaint stated while coming into work, Mayor Sanchez was unable to get inside due to a wrong access code to unlock the doors. The complaint said when Mayor Sanchez asked for a set of keys, she was denied them because the employee had the understanding that it wasn’t allowed in the Texas Municipal League Handbook. The complaint further stated a few minutes later on the phone, Mayor Sanchez was speaking loudly to an unknown person saying the situation was insubordination. The employee’s complaint further stated that the employees felt attacked. The complaint said the work environment with the mayor around was described as “uncomfortable and toxic.”
After N. Sanchez finished reading the three complaints, there was discussion amongst the city council regarding the next steps. Mayor Sanchez indicated that the council needed to move to the next agenda item. However, legal counsel Solis interjected that proper protocol when hostile work environments are filed is for the city’s legal counsel to thoroughly investigate each complaint and come back with recommendations. Solis stated since her firm had been terminated, this agenda item will need to be tabled until the new counsel is hired.
This is a developing story that the Pleasanton Express will be reporting on as updates become available.