County Judge David Silva said during their morning court meeting that they would not be discussing the grievances filed against Rodriguez because he resigned earlier that morning.
Silva said, “Mr. Rodriguez resigned this morning, and any action we take is moot.
“He would no longer be an employee.
“His resignation was accepted.
“My feeling on the item is it is over.”
Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez said that he felt it was important to the dozen or more employees of the Bee Community Action Agency in the audience that the matter be heard in executive session.
Rodriguez said, “I think the court needs to be aware of what the employees have to say.
“If we just drop it, well, it is like nothing happened.”
Commissioner Carlos Salazar Jr. said that he, like the judge, wasn’t interested in discussing the grievances filed against Rodriguez because he resigned, but said that he wanted to recognize him for his years of service.
“What I personally want to say — and I am not speaking about the grievance and why these individuals are here — it is unfortunate that Mr. Rodriguez resigned under this type of environment, but I just want to recognize the man for the years he put in at BCAA.
“I understand before all this occurred — and here I am not finding him guilty or innocent — he did serve well.
“Under his leadership, Head Start ran well.
“He left the Head Start program and went to rural transit to run that.
“At the request of (BCAA Executive Director Anna Simo), he was asked to come back.
“It is unfortunate he resigned, and I want to thank him for the years he put in.”
In April 2010, Rodriguez was promoted to director of Head Start.
His career with the Bee Community Action Agency began in 1981.
Still working at a uranium mine in Ray Point, Rodriguez applied for a position at BCAA as a driver. He got the job and quickly moved up the ranks, becoming a classroom teacher, then a lead teacher overseeing several classrooms and staff, education coordinator overseeing student education and, finally in 1984, as director of Head Start.
He left Head Start in 2007, taking a position as transportation director in the BCAA.
As transportation director, Rodriguez had a staff of 25 drivers, with 26 buses. His job was coordinating the transportation of elderly and others from throughout the county.
When the director position re-emerged, Rodriguez decided to go back.
Rodriguez said that he believed that the court should still hear the grievances and the resignation should not have been accepted prior to the court’s 9 a.m. meeting.
“I feel like we should have waited on the resignation until the court met this morning,” the commissioner said. “I think the acceptance of the resignation was premature.
“I feel the court should have listened to what the employees had to say for a matter of record and then decided whether to accept the resignation or follow the policy council’s recommendation of firing this individual.”
Cathi Petrus, lead family service worker at BCAA, told commissioners that policy stated they had the right to have the grievances heard.
“According to the grievance policy, we are to proceed until the remedy we are seeking is achieved, and we did not ask for his resignation.”
Salazar interjected, “You asked for him to be fired.”
Commissioner Dennis DeWitt told Petrus that the court was given the affidavits associated with the grievances.
“We have all of your written information, and we have all gone over it very carefully,” he said.
“So you have been heard — not personally but in writing.
“If you have something different than what is in writing, that is a different story.”
Petrus responded, “Through the process there has been some additional information that wasn’t necessarily put down as an affidavit.
“But, again, this is part of the grievance policy.
“As Commissioner Rodriguez stated, I feel like his resignation was accepted prematurely.”
A request for both the grievance affidavits and the resignation letter were made Monday to Simo. As of Tuesday, neither have been received by this newspaper.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.