Monday, January 20, 2020

Welton: Wendy Jacobs called Wendell Davis' actions "retaliatory"

Marqueta Welton, in the deposition in her case against Durham County, says Wendy Jacobs told her County Manager Wendell Davis downsized her position as an act of retaliation.
Welton’s statement alleges a pattern of behavior connecting Jacobs as a co-conspirator in a plan to force the termination of Davis. Read previous blog regarding the depositions
Welton, in responding to questions from Matt Leerberg, the attorney representing Durham County, relates a conversation she had with Jacobs involving a reassignment plan. The plan changed her title from Deputy County Manager to Economic Development Officer.  The conversation preceded the filing of her first grievance against Davis.
Welton says Jacobs’ general impression of Davis’ reassignment to be “retaliatory”. After being pressed on Jacobs’ specific words, Welton says “I don’t know what her exact words were, I think it was more the vindictive vernacular.”
The connection between Welton’s conversation with Jacobs regarding the perception of retaliation, an April 14, 2016 email forwarded to Welton’s personal AOL account from a member of the Board of County Commissioners and Welton’s filing of a grievance against Davis, exposes a potential plot to manipulate the charges against Davis for political gain.
Welton testifies that she held onto her job until after the 2016 election in hope that the new slate of County Commissioner would reverse Davis’ realignment decision.
What led to Welton believing a change of the slate of County Commissioner would lead to a change back to her previous role as Deputy County Manager? Is it possible a deal was made, by Jacobs and other members of the County Commissioners, to appoint Welton after dismissing Davis from his position as Durham’s County Manager?
These are critical questions for voters leading up to the March 3rd election. Past, and often present, tension among board members, related to the employment and contract of Davis, provides the context for the politicization of Welton reassignment.  Voters should press for answers regarding Jacobs’ role in instigating Welton’s lawsuit against Durham County. In addition, was there an agreement between Welton and members of the board regarding plans after the election? If so, what was that agreement?
Welton’s case against Durham County cost $304,311 to defend. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of the lower court’s decision in favor of the County.
What remans is lots of money spent to defend a case involving a disgruntled employee. That and a deposition that raises serious questions regarding the role of past and present members of the Board of County Commissioners in fueling the flames of a discontented employee. It matters that conversations between Welton and board members may have led to a lawsuit against the county. It matters if promises were made, emails shared, and sides taken against the County Manager to promote a personal agenda.
It matters because members of the Board of County Commissioners are elected to promote the interest of the county – not the will of an employee in filing a lawsuit against the county.

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