Monday, May 14, 2007

Killing the Messenger: TYC fires whistleblower

Some TYC employee commenters have already been discussing this, but I was sure sorry to see the news that Anthony Mikulastik, a case manager at the Marlin TYC unit and a regular Grits commenter, was terminated over a 35-year old felony. Perhaps not coincidentally, just days before the newspapers revealed he had been an early, ignored whistleblower in the Pyote sex scandal. Reported the Statesman (Second Youth Commission whistleblower terminated," May 11):
The dismissal of Anthony Mikulastik, a case manager at the Marlin Orientation and Assessment Unit, came just days after he publicly accused his onetime bosses of ignoring reports of sex abuse three years ago at the West Texas State School — a full year before they had claimed they first knew.

"Without a doubt, it's retaliation," he said in a phone interview. "I haven't had so much as a speeding ticket in years, since that conviction for burglary in 1972. I was 19 then. I'm 56 now."

Anthony's case shows why punishing people who had nothing to do with any scandal or allegations of wrongdoing makes little sense. There are enough real problems at TYC without creating scapegoats. The Dallas News had a good article yesterday, "A breakdown of authority," that outlined the structural problems and culture of denial TYC needs to be addressing instead. But you worsen those cultural problems by firing whistleblowers, whatever the pretext.

Not only do such firings cost the agency experienced people at a time when TYC staff is reeling, but it's unnecessary and looks like a coverup. TYC conservator Jay Kimbrough and his goon squad who instigated this firing binge don't have a single reason to think Mikulastik poses any danger to TYC youth - these terminations are just grandstanding for the media with no public policy benefit or improvement in safety of students.

In fact, when he starts firing the small handful of folks who stood up to wrongdoing and reported abuse when others ignored it, Kimbrough's mass firing of ex-felons probably makes TYC kids less safe.

TYC employees need a better union - this is BS. Good luck, Anthony, and give 'em hell at your administrative hearing.

56 comments:

Vilanelle said...

This is a sad and unfortunate. Even if it wasn't a cover-up, No one should be fired from a job for a burglary committed 35 years ago.

Sometimes (nearly every day) I wonder what the hell is wrong with Texas.

I stay only for the barbecue

Anonymous said...

I am an attorney in the juvenile justice system. I would much prefer that the kids I ship interact with someone who made a mistake years ago and overcame it, turning his life around, than someone who has never sinned (or at least never been caught).

The kids have lost a visual example that conviction for an offense doesn't mean condemnation to a life of crime.

Anonymous said...

The termination of Mikulastik is clearly wrong for speaking out about corruption at TYC. He should be brought back with the rest of those that changed their lives for the better after a one time mistake especially if it occurred more than 20 years ago.

I think AM was let go by TYC in accordance with the new policies and with the others with felony records. To say he was retailated against for reporting the mess at West Texas three years ago and was ignored confuses me. Reading your posts, it seems to me the other caseworker at Marlin was the one who brought this to the attention of officials. Looks more like AM's attempt at the limelight again to me. Just tell the facts!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@7:09: I don't know whether the motive was the new policy or retaliation, or if the new policy is simply a smokescreen for retaliation, but the Dallas News credited Anthony with whistleblower status in this article.

So whatever "the facts," and I put them in quotes because we can't know them, the conservator's actions create a perception of retaliating against a whistleblower when you fire him days after the Morning News quotes from his affidavit to the Rangers. I oppose terminating employees based on past convictions regardless of whistleblower status, but this was a boneheaded move by TYC administrators who apparently don't care (or aren't thinking about) about public perception.

Anonymous said...

I would believe that it was because of the felony he got fired instead of retaliation EXCEPT for the fact that I PERSONALLY was a "whistleblower" at the facility i worked at..i use the past tense, because May 9th, 2007 i was terminated for creating an "uncooperative" work environment, which really means..I won't cover up the crimes of administration. So the "old felony" stuff...thats B.S! If it wasn't a violent or drug related offense...get a lawyer and sue them for retaliation...its AGAINST THE LAW! I know i am....and when I get my settlement from TYC for Unlawful discharge...I will make sure you get taken care of grits...you are doing a great job exposing all of the corruption that STILL exists at TYC.

Anonymous said...

Anthony reported the "whistle blowing" information with Bill close to a month after the new TYC admin. sent out notice to employees to report their felony convictions. Anthony is going to have a hard time proving a whistle blowing motive unless he can prove the new TYC admin people are psychic and knew a month later he was going to come forward with the info. Another thing to that charge that doesn't make sense is that he's claiming whistle blowing against WHO? None of those who were responsible for firing him were a part of the old administration that existed. The new admin fired the old admin. It's going to be hard for Anthony to make it look like the new admin fired him to protect the old ones since they fired them! Who are they supposedly retaliating for if there is no one left? If he's going to suggest that it was Melvin Haisler who was some how responsible, Anthony's going to have a hard time trying to prove Melvin is even in the link of the new administration to have the authority to let him go. No, he and Melvin were certainly not buddies, but Melvin is not the administrator who sent the email out regarding felonies, the new admin. is. Is it possible Melvin is somehow connected or able to get Anthony fired due to the bitterness between them? Anything is possible, but the chance is pretty small. And, anyone that knows Melvin knows it is VERY unlikely he's going to stick himself out there doing something like that. He's afraid to get his head whacked off too. He may have an effigy of Anthony somewhere with darts poking through it, but as far as actually making the firing happen, the odds are not high.
More than likely, Anthony was fired because 1) he did not report his felony as they told everyone to. Why? Who knows and it doesn't really matter. And 2) he had a felony.

Ok, with that all said: his firing is still bullshit. I'm not a big fan of Anthony, but I don't think he or anyone else with these old felonies should be fired. Anthony has heart, he has strong feelings for what he does and he's not afraid to stand up and say things that need to be said. Yes, alot of that is for the attention that he likes to get, but so what? His actions have a positive service. They keep people on their toes and make others look at what's going on. The new TYC administration need people like Anthony if they want to appear on the up and up.
Grits, just a suggestion. Maybe you should let some employment and civil rights attorneys pay you a "fee" to advertise their services on your site right now.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@9:37 - Man, no offense, but TYC employees need to get their act together, because the conservator's doing a lot of damage with this policy and some of y'all are inexplicably angrier at each other than at him. Even when you agree (e.g., AM's firing was "bullshit") y'all have to preface it by trashing the object of the discussion.

The same culture exists at TDCJ - we got a glimpse of that from looking at Ed Owens' background. The day a reporter wants to break TYC-esque scandals at TDCJ, I guarantee you the employees will dish. Both agencies' employees indulge in a kind of intra-agency faction fighting that I've never seen outside of the state's criminal justice agencies. I don't know why that is, but it's contributing to making TYC staff more vulnerable during this transition period, and is one of the reasons I was lamenting the lack of a stronger union.

You're right about the advertising - I need to set that up, and probably shoud have done it two months ago. best,

Anonymous said...

"...y'all are inexplicably angrier at each other than at him. Even when you agree (e.g., AM's firing was "bullshit") y'all have to preface it by trashing the object of the discussion."

Pointing out the weaknesses in Anthony's defense is not trashing Anthony. You always say stick to the facts. Those are the facts. Saying he likes the media attention isn't trashing him either. It's the truth, ask him. Like anyone else, he would rather have only the positive things said and who could blame him.
Bringing out all the weaknesses and putting them out there for everyone to recognize lets everyone see that even though they are there, the bottom line is- Anthony's firing is still bullshit.
Smart lawyers are the first ones to put the weaknesses out there to the jury first so it doesn't look like they are trying to hide anything or fall back on weak points. That deflates the opposing team's momentum. Anthony may be hurting himself if he doesn't have solid evidence in proving retaliation due to the time line and chain of events that make it look like he was really just fired like the rest of the people with felonies were. Hoping that turning over the evidence a month later might save him as a "whistleblower" is going to be an interesting task for his attorney. Being fired for a 30 year old felony when he was hired knowing that existed is provable. Seeing in the law that no state agency should fire people in a blanket action just because they have a felony offense is provable. Anthony deserves to win, but it needs to be with the things that are provable. If he can somehow prove retaliation through all of this, more power to him. If he can, I hope he winds up owning the house Kimbrough and Owen's live in.

Anonymous said...

I think it's worth considering whether Grits is correct that "the new policy is simply a smokescreen for retaliation."

Maybe Jay and Ed looked at the list of 66, saw three or four people like Anthony they wanted gone, then sacrificed the rest to make the firings look reasonable. I've been trying to think of some reason they're doing all this (besides just wanting to look like they're doing SOMETHING) because it doesn't make any sense and that would explain it.

I hope none of the 66 resign. Make them terminate you then contest it. Maybe y'all can have joint ownership of Jay and Ed's houses!

Anonymous said...

11:07- this is 10:49.
I TOTALLY agree with you. There is no sense in the firing of these people other than what you stated.

I am curious to know- since Mr. Owens and Mr. Kimbrough have been in other top positions in other agencies; did they impose the same policy at those places (firing the felons already in place)? If not, why not? Why start here? If they have not done this at other places under their charge in the past, then Anthony and the rest of the other people with felonies who were fired might just have the start they need to prove retaliation. It's not a slam dunk since there is still more needed to link those points, but it's a good start.

Anonymous said...

I'm also curious to know whether it was Kimbrough and Owens who brought the idea to fire the felons to the lege or if it was the lege (i.e. Whitmire and others) who came up with the idea and told Kimbrough and Owens to do it. Who started the process? I'm sure someone ordered someone to run background checks on everyone to make sure there weren't any sex offenders working in TYC, but how did it get expanded to everyone with felonies getting fired? I would like to know who that person is.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It was Kimbrough's idea to fire the felons. He proposed it and the legislators went along with it.

Anonymous said...

Two questions / comments:

1. The Dallas Morning News also has a good article tracing the chain of e-mails among TYC administrators just before the scandal broke. They clearly show a concern with damage control but not about the abuses themselves.

Not to keep beating the same drum here, but this too has a long history within TYC. Same exact thing happened in the 60s and 70s. I've read the internal correspondence, and you can literally measure the level of hysteria and anger within TYC by the tone and even the handwriting in the letters (remember this was way before e-mails or word processors), which gets progressively more sloppy as abuses were exposed.

2. Question: Is the new ombudsman going to field complaints from staff as well as the kids? If so, perhaps some protection for whistleblowers in future. I agree that the staff should be unionized for their own protection, though I disagree with Kimbrough's recommendation that they start wearing uniforms.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that information Grits. Anyone happen to know Owen's and Kimbrough's history of other employments? Did they fire already employed persons with felonies (and or high misdemeanors) at the other agencies they headed or worked for?

Anonymous said...

There is no redemption for felons in Texas! Children in TYC know this but the vast majority of the Texas adult population doesn't. The idea of resocialization in Texas is pretty stupid when there is such a hostile environment for past felons.

TYC employees need to stand together to change this stupidity! If they don't, no child will benefit from their work. Does Texas want all the felons to move to another State? Bad, bad, bad idea!

Anonymous said...

Bill Parker was the one who developed the information and I acted as a witness for him. The information was presented to Melvin Haisler and Jerome Parsee several years ago. They chose to cover up the situation. Bill and I discussed what other steps to take to get the information acted on by central office. We mailed copies of the information youth provided to central office several years ago. The only result was a threat against Bill Parker and warning given to me on Highway 7 between Marlin, Texas and the Brazos River Bridge when an attempt was made to run me off the road while I was on a motorcycle.

In early to mid March I found some of the lost documents youth had filled out for Bill Parker in November of 2004. With evidence in hand I went to State Representative Dianne Delisi, State Senator John Whitmire, and Senator Juan Hinojosa. Athena Ponce, in Senator Juan Hinojosa’s office listened to my story and had the Texas Rangers contact Bill and me.

I started talking to people in the Texas Legislature and law enforcement long before Jay Kimbrough decided to fire the TYC employees with felony convictions. I might also note I was not fired with the other people with felony records; I was fired more than four weeks after the others. The final disposition in my record is Clemency 1983. I think if you will check the current TYC policy my firing is not within policy. Look my criminal record up in Public Data it is there for all to see I received clemency.

For those who think I love the media attention you are absolutely wrong. I am getting on TV and in print talking about a part of my past that I would rather forget. Since I started moving against the people who covered up the information Bill Parker developed my life has not been too great. I think the people who violated the law should be brought to justice! Many youth and TYC employees have suffered as a result of TYC administration’s unlawful acts. I am going to do everything I can to see justice is done for all concerned.

In summary, my work to bring the cover up to light greatly predates Mr. Kimbrough’s fire the felon move. I worked on making the cover up known long before I went public as a last resort. Today the Falls County Grand Jury heard a poorly presented case based on Bill Parker’s efforts. The Falls County DA refused to talk to Bill Parker or have him present the information he had. Many key people were not subpoenaed to give testimony by the Falls County DA. She asked for no help from the Attorney General’s Office and has little trial experience. Her only witness was the Texas Ranger who investigated the case. The Falls County DA botched the case. I am going to ask Ronnie Earl, Travis County DA to investigate the case and see if he can do better. I will also be reporting the Grand Jury outcome to all of the Texas House and Senate members.

Anthony Mikulastik

Damn Homie! said...

One superintendent, one assistant superintendent, and two HW House superintendent were suspended, one last friday, three today, pending an investigation. We are running out of administrators to run these programs.

whitsfoe said...

I just spoke with one of them... now they are going back and looking at six-seven year old cases that were confirmed mistreatment cases and seeing if the discipline you applied then was up to today's standards. If not, you’re suspended while they prepare your exit paperwork.

Well, the problem with that is the investigators we had back then are not as skilled as the visiting OIG/Ranger/AG's office guys are now. All you needed back then was a degree, but no investigations experience. There was no training for these guys/girls. Their findings were mere guesses. I can’t rely on a “guess” to determine someone’s fate.

Our “visitors” know what they are doing. And I’m glad their here.

Second is the fact that the "just fire anyone at anytime" mentality wasn't present then like it is now, and discipline was progressive because you'd lose the case in a termination hearing if you brought what they are doing now back then to justify your actions. And I'll emphasize again that we didn't have skilled investigators back then that could present solid findings that we could’ve relied upon and taken appropriate administrative action (terminations).

There is no worse blow to an institution than to reinstate a “known” abusive employee after going for termination because the investigator couldn't get solid facts on the perpetrator. In hindsight, maybe we should have anyway, but then again, we get frowned upon because the Executive Director would reverse our decision following the hearing. Now that’s just bullshit, and I, for one, am glad we are done with that non-sense. But back then, it was very different. A very different culture.

In short, I'm glad to see we will have an official OIG department in TYC, but for some, it's a little too late. Good luck guys.

whitsfoe said...

I'm sorry, my "their" should have been "they're." My bad.

Anonymous said...

6:57 Not ALL the former investigators were bad. Many of them were (and are) less than experts or desireable, but not all of them fit that. And don't forget that on many of the campuses, the administration and employees didn't cooperate with the investigators because Central Office didn't make them. Evidence was conveniently "lost", some just outright refused to cooperate and there is one campus in particular that got to choose which investigators it wanted. How great can an investigation be when no one will give you anything to see? So, before you lay all the blame on ALL the old investigators, dig a little deeper. Some of them were just as disgusted with the process as you are.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck to you Anthony! Sounds like you're going to have fun owning Kimbrough and Owen's houses. Be sure to announce your moving in time frame so we can plan a house warming party for you.

Anonymous said...

To Damn homie- who were these people (the one's you said were suspended)?

Anonymous said...

Anthony, why is the MSM reporting your clemency was asked for twice but was never granted if you are saying it actually was granted in 1983? Didn't they talk to you?

What was the case today involving that the DA botched?

Whacked said...

I understand the old investigators methods prior to the "New" administration took over (Kimbrough-Ed).

But, if they are bringing back cases that are 1 year or older back and they have been investigated, tried, and discipline served or not served, what form of justice is this.

If we applied this standard to all TYC staff you would lose 50% based upon progressive discipline. You never started with probation or termination based upon what Whitsfoe said, you would lose in a termination hearing or employee grievance.

Also, if you were hired under one set of rules and then the rules change how can they apply? This is like playing HORSE, if the biggest, dumbest, morally challenged person gets the advantage over the ones who play fair, and changes the rules after the game starts, whats the purpose. Your never gonna win against odds like this.

Can we play by one set of rules, quit worrying about the headlines, and do whats right for the youth we serve. This whole circus is getting out of control and the youth are eating this up, while all of us on the ground floor have to watch what we do or say because the youth will say your being unfair and trump up an allegation against you, where by in todays standard you are guilty and walked, suspended, reassigned. Regardless you loose creditability.

whitsfoe said...

@6:57.... I apologize if I offended you. That wasn't my intent. Maybe I should say, “the majority of you” as opposed to lumping all you in the same basket. But judging by your response, you apparently agree that there were many who didn't have the experience to begin with, and that, my colleague, is not anyone’s fault except the executive administration.

We have argued for many years that TYC needed to develop, or outsource, training for these TYC investigators. We needed it then, and asked for it then, and harped on the issue for ten freaking years now. The last time anyone asked about what training do these people received, the response was "they read a book."

Read a book? We've been arguing with the TYC General Council (now gone) that we need more than a book but rather an academy to know what questions to ask, and not just the who, what, when, where and why questions, but rather the approach to how you ask those same questions and disguise them each time to get to the truth. Comparing testimony with evidence and determining the truth. What is an interrogation vs. what is an interview? How to conduct the forensic interview, and so on and so on. It’s been out there forever.

So I apologize if you took my comment as personally derogatory... but my point is that the "back then" TYC administrators failed you guys by not investing in your professional development, and hopefully now, we have learned that lesson. My best regards...

dwts said...

This stupid, misguided, "ban felons" bs is a horrible example to the youth we serve and the mission our agency should believe in -- rehabilitation. It tells every kid we have that the mistakes they have made brand them for life.

Anonymous said...

Anthony- I am 10:49

I wrote about the information I had. If you say it is different (the time in which you and Bill reported this) then I certainly stand corrected. However, I'm going to keep my opinion that you like the media attention though you'd rather not have it in a negative light with what has happened now (as I stated in the other post).
Regardless, if what you say is true, give it time. With the most likely endings to this story, you're going to have a good reason to skip along and smile.
I hope the Senators and Lege people you talked to are going to help you out. Their documentation of written dates and times you all met would sure come in handy for you. I am wondering how Kimbrough had the balls to fire you if he knew you had been talking to the Lege people. Not smart on his part, especially if you were pardoned. The policy does state pardons are excused from the felony policy.
I'm sure you've kept all your email correspondences and read receipts since starting all this too. If you don't have it already, I would definitely find out when or if Kimbrough or Owens has practiced this type of felony firings in their past employments.
You could nail them on just about every angle if they have not. They would certainly "have some splaining to do".
You may not only become the future owner of their homes and Kimbrough's motorcycle and "do rag", but you just might have a couple nickels in your pocket to rattle around. It's a shame TYC is going to wind up paying you money that way rather than just let you keep your job and help some kids.
Apologies again for my misinformation.
Good luck to you Anthony.

whacked said...

The only way to win this other than through the courts is to line up some more credible folks who were let go and do an all out assault with the media.

If you have relevant facts and information they will listen.

The problem you are facing is the time-line. This needs to happen while the session is going on prior to all the worms going back home to their districts.

Once again, you must find more folks with stories like yours and get it out there. This is the same practice that is taking place now. Just read the Dallas Morning News today, "Four Superintendents Suspended". This is nothing more than leaking a story for their gain. Why else let this info out, to put a positive light on their actions. They (Superintendents)will be back based upon what they have/don't have. But that is not relevant to them, it's just headlines.

This is the only way you can get your story out.

Anonymous said...

To 8:14 (Whitsfoe): 7:16 responding.

I understand your view, however I know there were and still are (one or two) good investigators in TYC. Not all deserve to be placed in the category you described though I can understand why you came to the conclusion you did.
You said in your post regarding old TYC investigator training:

"But judging by your response, you apparently agree that there were many who didn't have the experience to begin with.."

I absolutely agree. Not only that, but even after being hired and seeing the importance of their jobs, few made the effort to improve their skills on their own. The "good ones" either came in with experience already under their belt from previous employment or did it on their own after being hired (or both).

"We have argued for many years that TYC needed to develop, or outsource, training for these TYC investigators".

You were not the only one arguing. Some of us who saw the work of our coworkers were screaming just as loudly.

"We needed it then, and asked for it then, and harped on the issue for ten freaking years now. The last time anyone asked about what training do these people received, the response was "they read a book."

What book? I never got a "book". I did get training that most did not. However, the majority of it was what I took upon myself to do. It was not TYC mandated, paid for or encouraged.

"We've been arguing with the TYC General Council (now gone) that we need more than a book but rather an academy to know what questions to ask, and not just the who, what, when, where and why questions, but rather the approach to how you ask those same questions and disguise them each time to get to the truth. Comparing testimony with evidence and determining the truth. What is an interrogation vs. what is an interview? How to conduct the forensic interview, and so on and so on. It’s been out there forever."

You are VERY and absolutely correct. A few investigators who saw this discrepancy between what they and the other investigators were doing were screaming that same thing from the roof tops as well.
Most TYC investigators did not get this or any type of training. I wouldn't want most of them even coming close to a crime scene or interviewing one of my witnesses if I was involved in a case. And you are correct, the TYC administration should have mandated this training if they wanted credible investigations. There is a reason most (not all) of the investigators at TYC didn't get this training. It should be clear by now that the administration did not want things seen. They didn't train the investigators better because they didn't want "unbendable" or unquestionable findings. If the findings didn't suit their purpose, they were changed. Having shoddy investigations and investigators not trained to know how a good one looks leaves the administrators room to play. And they did. Few investigators even said a word about it. However, some did. And, some paid a price for that.

You are correct in you statements about most TYC investigators (current and past), but again, not all. I again cannot emphasize enough that no matter how good an investigator was or is, if they were not allowed to get evidence and the people involved in the case were not made to cooperate in the investigation; nothing was going to come out as it should. These hindrances were also a failure of the Central Office administrators to enforce and control as they should have. They knew about these things. They were told over and over again but did nothing to change it. If the same environment existed now as it did before the old administration and General Counsel were fired, even the new "trained" OIG investigators would be hard pressed to compile a solid, evidence filled investigation.

No offense taken if you are willing to possibly concede that not all TYC investigators were or are bad. I am very much in agreement with you in being glad things have changed as well.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference in clemency and a full pardon. Clemency was by the board in 1983. I also had 2 recommendations for full and unconditional pardon the governor failed to act on from the board. As I said look at Public Data Com and you will see my final disposition is clemency. Both are an act of grace but only the pardon allows you to ask the court to clear your record. I have a DPS CCH that shows the exact same information as Public Data Com.

Don't forget I was fired a month or more after the others. Also Mr. Kimbrough had already declared all the felons were gone from TYC before I was fired. I cannot make anyone believe something they refuse to believe. The Austin American Statesman reporter did an extensive open record request to verify all of the information in his article. His sources were the Board of Pardons and Paroles and TYC. The picture in the article came from TYC open records, it was the picture used to make my ID badge.

It is may hope the people who brought the trouble to TYC are held accountable for their actions. The sexual predators and the people who covered them need to be the first to be prosecuted. I think the public has no idea the people who did the criminal acts were TYC administration for the most part. If I have done nothing else, I stood up, grievance after grievance to some very cunning and evil people. I wonder how many of my detractors have done the same.

Hope you who are left behind at TYC survive the current insanity unhurt with your job.

Anthony Mikulastik

whitsfoe said...

You nailed it. I agree totally with you.

Anonymous said...

8:43 to Anthony,
I doubt there is any person out there than can say you didn't stand up and fight like hell against some pretty unscrupulous people. You did. Thanks for doing that. Keep us informed on how things are going. I think even though you might think some here might be against you, you'd be surprised that they're (we're)really on your side and will fight the good fight with you. Best to you Anthony. I hope you have a great lawyer who has some brass nuts or a steel brassiere. It's going to be a fight, but well worth it.

Anonymous said...

Contact attorney David Van Os in San Antonio about retaliation lawsuit. He is handling the Bexar County Adult Probation officers who are suing their Chief for retaliation! stay tuned, court date is in June 07

Anonymous said...

For the past several months I go home from my TYC job every night and wonder when the axe is going to fall. When will we close? Will I have a job? Am I going to be able to take care of my family?Why won't you people in Central Office tell us anything? For those of us condemned to this limbo, I would just like to say to Jay Kimbrough, that I think we deserve better than what you, Ed Owens and Dimitria Pope are giving us. We are not all pedophiles and child abusers. Some us truly care about helping the troubled youth of Texas. The media circus you have created with all your arrogance, blustering rhetoric and public firings serves only to damage the agency to the point that recovery will be a more difficult and protracted process. The vacuum of experienced child care professionals your policies and tactics have created will not be easily overcome. Add this to the lack of communication from you regarding our concerns and our fate sends the message to the loyal employees who have "stuck it out" through this tragic time that it would appear that you could care less about us. Perhaps you, the legislature and the media should take a closer look at the people you have installed in TYC. Based upon what I read they have their skeletons too.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anthony! How did your termination hearing go yesterday?

Please tell me TYC didn't send their same ole' crooked staff attorney's and hearing officers to represent TYC. If they did, forget it. They're such a joke. You'll have to take it to the courts if they are they ones deciding. Hope you have years to dedicate to trying to get justice.

Anonymous said...

12:10 It was not my termination hearing, it was Larry's. We used the guidence from a high dollar lawyer in Houston. My presentation on 05/21/07 at 11:00 AM will be simular. The hearing is highly controled and narrowly focused to keep things under TYC control. Only Eric Young and the judge were present for TYC. That must mean all the hearings are a done deal.

Anthony Mikulastik

Anonymous said...

So what are the all the TYC staff attorneys and hearing officers doing now if they're not doing the termination hearings? Isn't that their jobs?

Anonymous said...

Anthony, I don't know you at all. I certainly think you got a really bad deal. I'm not in a position to know why you were terminated but there is clearly an appearance of corruption even if they followed their "rules". I will have to say that there is one thing that stood out in my readings related to you that is of some concern to me. I believe it was a newspaper article of March 17th (don't remember which newspaper) where you were discussing with the media the lack of funding and problems with obtaining mental health medications when new juveniles arrived at the facility you were at (Marlin?). In this article, there was a comment that the employees at your facility didn't know anything about the sexual abuse cases in West Texas; certainly not the 300 reported.....something like that. You felt comfortable that anything like that would have been reported and dealt with where you were. It sounded in the article that you were one of the "employees" they were referring to that didn't know anything about the abuses at the West Tx facility. But then in this chain and/or others, the accounts seem to be that you came forward around the first of May 2007, that you, and I believe Bill, had reported this abuse in W Texas years ago. Now I have been reading a whole lot and maybe I am not accurate; I can research and find out if I am way off. If you have the inclination and are willing, I would love to hear your comments on this. Again, I don't know you or almost any of the other TYC staff. I worked there many years ago. I didn't trust Steve R. and have commented elsewhere that I could easily see how he could have built or allowed a culture that would have easily led to problems like these. by Really

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Anthony, another TYC employee got his recommendation for termination today because of his felony record. You were not the last one.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there folks.... your still on the payroll, and someone must be having a problem with it, since you've been retained for another month now... memo went out today...

Anonymous said...

Grits - 5/14/07 7:58AM

In regard to AM termination and a "boneheaded" move made by TYC. I choose to disagree with you. If TYC terminated based on AM's threats and allegations then the rest of the felons at TYC that did get terminated would not have been treated fairly "across the board". Why all this protection for AM when he was terminated for a felony? No other reason, he seems delusional and makes way too many questionable comments about people that just "do not agree with his or the other caseworker's allegations". No proof, no evidence, cannot produce anything of value to back up his claims... Otherwise the new TYC administration would have acted on them... From what I am reading he did not personally make these claims. (Only riding the coat tails of someone else)Can someone say "limelight" - "media attention" "hooray for AM" that is what seems to be his primary motivator. Sorry just stating the "facts" as I see them.

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting that AM staged this after hearing the TYC were going to do a felony sweep?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@8:05: On AM, with the caveat that I've never personally met the man, I don't think any employees with past felonies should be terminated, so why would I think it's right to throw him to the wolves just because he spoke out? Further, you ask,

"Why all this protection for AM when he was terminated for a felony? No other reason,"

Even if that's true, I've defended everyone so situated and his is a 37 year old case, which makes it ridiculous and egregious, IMO worthy of defense in and of itself.

"he seems delusional and makes way too many questionable comments about people ... No proof, no evidence, cannot produce anything of value to back up his claims..."

This from an anonymous commenter slamming someone as "delusional" with no proof? Pot, meet kettle. Except, Mr. Pot, did you swear out an affidavit to the Rangers? AM did.

"Otherwise the new TYC administration would have acted on them."

Personally I can find little rhyme or reason to the actions of the new administration - deciding to fire felons in response to Pyote is like George Bush invading Iraq after 9/11. I can't figure out what one has to do with the other.

"Can someone say "limelight" - "media attention"

You know, if y'all had a decent union that stepped up and defended its employees, isolated individuals wouldn't be left to speak out alone with anonymous snipers attacking their legitimacy from the rear while providing no alternatives. But then, those are just the "facts" as I see them. best,

Anonymous said...

Looks like Kimbrough is having a hard time justifying it all since he's keeping them on the payroll Grits. I bet they are second guessing themselves now. Bet lawyers are now involving themselves and there is a huge concern with what they are doing. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

TYC is contracting out the cases and lawsuits to outside firms because they can't handle them! They are up to their butts in paperwork from so many bad decisions coming back on them. They're running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Anonymous said...

3:57 That question was about MOAU employees in general knowing about current sexual abuse at West Texas and what was going on at the moment. All, we at MOAU in general, knew about current cases was what was in the media. Marlin employees did not have an edge on current West TX info. Again I was not speaking for myself but for Marlin employees as a representative of the State Employees Union who asked me to speak to the visiting law makers.

I personally do not care about taking years to prosecute litigation against TYC. I am at a point in life where I have better things to do than get enmeshed with more TYC crap.

My driving motivation is that TYC administration violated the law and caused the victimization of youth and staff. The losses are beyond measure and the criminals need to pay for the terrible things they have done to all of the youth and staff. I do not want to see them sail off into retirement to live happily ever after on my tax dollars.

I think you have talked about me being in the "Lime Light" before. You are nuts!!! Having the worst part of your life come back after 35 years have passed in not my idea of being in the lime light.

Go ahead and take another shot at me if it makes you feel better. Take notice I sign all of my comments, I noticed you didn't. Nothing wrong about anonymous but before you discount me think about signing your name like I do.

On another note I have grown very accustomed to not going to MOAU and I feel much better for it! I don't often check the news and blogs for TYC information like I used to. Grits had to email me to get me to respond to a post a few days ago! Being away from MOAU has improved my health and I am down a few pounds (7). We all know I could stand to drop a few pounds, about 40 actually.

Thanks for the info on another fired felon. He had clemency just like me if it is the same person I know about.

Hopefully, this coming Monday will be the end of my personal involvement with TYC when my Termination Hearing is held. I have the case prepared to present for the most part. A big thanks to George Kirk attorney at law in Houston TX for his assistance in helping LP and me get ready to defend ourselves. The three of us spent several hours working up the presentation. Oh I forgot about the Grand Jury thing I have to go to, but that is later.

I am doing like Jay Kimbrough; I am riding my motorcycle around Texas while the tax payers pay the bill. I am following the example of a proven leader.

It is my hope, as many as possible from TYC, who tried to do the right thing, make it through this troubled time with as few scares as possible. I know many of you only have a single income and have no other medical insurance coverage for your kids. My prayers go out to you. Bad people brought trouble to us; we didn’t go looking for it! People who were supposed to be our leaders let us all down so don’t let this mess drag you down into despair because you have done nothing wrong.

Anthony Mikulastik

Anonymous said...

Sorry I didn't answer all the questions......

3:57 My claims were reported by the media on May 1, 2007. I was part of the story in 2003-2004 along with Bill Parker. I also had provided evidence to lawmakers some time before the story broke in the DMN on May 1, 2007. I found the lost evidence March 13, 2007 and immediately started giving it to OIG, State Lawmakers, and TX Rangers. I provided evidence relating to other activities as well in February 2007. Another bit of misconduct was reported to a local lawmaker in JUly of 2005. I have been at this for some time. For years in fact!

8:05 I have hard evidence hand written by TYC youth. It has been given to law enforcement and is currently before a grand jury. Before it is over I expect some of the youth who wrote the stories about what was going on will be called before the grand jury. Bill and I gave the Texas Ranger a list of names for the youth. If the Ranger and Falls Co. DA do their job the case will move forward. If the powers in control don't want the investigation to move forward then I am sure it will not. Time will tell. If the case does move forward, once the guilty parties start to fall it will be a domino effect. It will be a rush to rat each other out for the best plea bargain. God only knows where it would stop.

If anyone wants to know what Bill and I have on you; now you know. I found some of the old exercises Bill had the kids write out along with a dorm roster listing the kid’s names. And some even put their names on the paper. The same type exercises Bill Parker took to supervisors at MOAU and we mailed to Central Office. They have some very graphic stories. If the Rangers want to follow this case all they need do is print out the 6B roster for 2003 and 2004 and ask all the kids about what they wrote about their state school experience while on MOAU Dorm 6B.

If I didn’t know better I would almost think some TYC spin doctors were posting to this blog trying to fish for information and confuse the issues. Hey guys I might be holding a few more cards back but you can’t expect me to show you everything I have. Remember I was at MOAU for 11 years.

Have a nice day! I am…..

Anthony Mikulastik

Anonymous said...

Anthony, I think that you got a raw deal. Period. People with any sense can see that. Everyone else with an old felony conviction was done wrong, too, and I hope that you all get a huge check from TYC from the lawsuit.

I can see them wanting to change the rules about felons, but they should have "grandfathered" people that were already working. I also see your point about the real sleaze-bags who are responsible for this mess getting to retire in comfort with big retirement checks, while the poor average joe gets nothing.

-Bubba Joe

Anonymous said...

I think it is just awful to terminate anyone for a felon that was reported at time of employment. Especially.... one that is 30 - 35 years old. My argument is why someone would "blame" the termination based on the "whistleblower" act. Clearly, that is not the reason for termination. Again, I am not supporting anyone that was directly involved in the West Texas scandal. Change was definitely needed, unfortunately there have some bad decisions (in my opinion) made in regard to the felony firings.

I am only stating my opinion, perhaps someone may think that I am delusional in my thoughts also. That is okay I am not offended, this is a public forum and everyone does not have to agree with everything written. The allegations that have been written have trashed and condemned people without anything legally proven... Media does not seem to have investigated "everyone's" background - those "allegedly" reporting these allegations as well as those "allegedly" being reported. It is my hope that the legal system will do those investigations on "the accusers as well as those accused." Then,,, everything will be on the table and the real truth will come out one way or the other.

For those that claim to "pen" their name to every posting, well I am just not buying that. Again, my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Ok, then people should not use a "pen" name at all.

-nobody-

Anonymous said...

All TYC employees need to start watching legislation. A bill movement alert was sent out saying that HB 2884 and been recommended for the Senate local and uncontested calendar. This one is scary that CHuy's 103 which voted unanimous in both side of the lege. If this one does the same, I don't know if the gov has to sign or not. If not, we're sunk. If the gov has to sign it, then everyone needs to find out who to write and start writing NOW. All facilities with more than 100 beds will be turned over to TDCJ which is basically all the facilities.TDCJ can do what they want with them and everyone who wants to keep their job has to reapply..If you don't believe me, go read the text of the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

I hear you 9:51. I have been following that bill for a quite a while now. I also work at one of the most remote TYC facilities, so I wonder every single day what the future holds.

I hear a lot of gripes about TYC, but I happen to love what I do. I have been teaching TYC kids for the past ten years and the prospect of this career ending is really sad to me. I planned on teaching there until I retire. I am glad that justice is finally on the horizon for the kids though...it is long overdue. I will miss working with them if it comes to that, but I know that everything happens for a reason, and if the West Texas scandal isn't enough of a reason to change TYC, I don't know what is.

I'm glad you brought up HB 2884. If you workdx for TYC, it will definetly have an affect on you.

Anonymous said...

I saw in the Statesman today that TYC is adjusting their hiring policy as far as folks with misdemeanor convictions within the past year. Looks like they are changing the policy because Will Harrell had a Class B conviction in 2004 for Reckless Driving. I find that very interesting. Kimbrough says that he knew about the conviction when he hired Harrell, and didn't know that the new hiring rule was that severe. I bet that if this had been about a regular Joe Shmoe with a Class B conviction for something as trivial as a Hot Check, then they would be out of a job.

Anonymous said...

oops, I meant 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Grits, can you verify that 2884 has pulled been amended to take out references to the 100 bed facilities.

Bed & Breakfast Vaticano said...

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