We did indeed settle so the saga is (mostly) over. Basically, after the Fifth Circuit's ruling [see Grits coverage], TDCJ called for a settlement conference. We agreed upon an amount and they wrote the check.Ouch! Still, given what happened to her, one can understand a touch of bitterness in Lyons' attitude toward her former employer. Congratulations to Michelle on her victory.
The only thing still being disputed is a neutral employment letter. As part of the settlement, I asked that they write a letter stating my years of service should I ever again to decide to pursue a job with the State of Texas. In the initial draft, they made no mention of my more than five years as director of the Public Information Office and so I asked them to update it. I'm told that Bryan Collier doesn't want to do that - he only wants to include the salary and pay grade I was in after my demotion. I am not sure why, other than it being a control issue and attempt to get in one last jab.Beyond that, I am extremely happy to be able to put this behind me, but still am troubled that the two individuals who perpetrated the discriminatory actions against me - namely Brad Livingston and Bryan Collier - remain at the helm of the agency. If they wanted to get rid of me, they could have done so without drumming up false allegations and then applying the rules only to me.
I hope our state leadership takes a hard look at this and other similar cases and determines that these individuals are not acting in the best interest of TDCJ or the State of Texas as a whole. It's time for them to step down and allow new leaders to repair the damage they have caused, restoring agency morale. Giving them another significant pay raise this session is not the answer, particularly when the men and women who actually serve on the frontlines get little to nothing.
Likewise my replacement, Jason Clark, should be investigated for perjury. He lied under oath about his own time-keeping practices and then was rewarded with a promotion. I'm sure it will never happen, but I think any journalist should be wary of the information he dispenses to them.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
TDCJ settled discrimination suit by former flak, Michelle Lyons
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice recently settled an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by its former Public Information Officer, Michelle Lyons, who alleged retaliation by her superiors for passing along public information to bloggers as well as MSM reporters. Upon hearing news of the settlement, Grits emailed Lyons who responded with the following comments: