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Date of Issue: March 12, 2008

Bates' dismissal revoked by grievance board

A public works employee in Bradenton Beach was judged of having an error in behavior but that error was not egregious enough to cause his dismissal.

Bud Bates admitted he backed a city vehicle into a parked car at the Bradenton Beach Historic City Pier early in the morning of Jan. 17. Damage to Richard Kenneth Davis’ car was slight. Bates allegedly said he would take care of the repair himself if the matter was not reported. Davis agreed, then changed his mind and called police.

City policies state that any accident involving an employee and a city vehicle be reported to police.

There are also drug tests that ensue after an incident.

After Davis called police, Bates underwent a drug test, result of which is still pending.

Public works supervisor Tom Woodard dismissed Bates from his employment with the city, citing that Bates failed to report the incident and attempted to cover it up.

There are three policies in the city’s personnel code that deal with such matters. Woodard chose the harshest in Bates’ case: dismissal.

“The thrust of this isn’t a fender-bender,” grievance board chair Mike Tyrrell said. “It’s trying to cover it up. I believe that’s the most pertinent factor.”

Bates during the hearing admitted he made a mistake. “I made a vital judgment error. I know I did the wrong thing, but I’ve been with the city for 11 years, and I’d like a suspension rather than termination.”

Grievance board members agreed that Bates did violate city policies, but also agreed that the matter did not meet dismissal of employment.

That recommendation will go to the city commission for final determination.

Bates previously faced dismissal in April 2007, when Woodard fired him for “incidents involving city vehicles and equipment, failure to comply with departmental and city polices, insubordination, suspension for illegal drug use, continued abuse of leave benefits, altercations with the public while on the job, and wanton or willful neglect in performance of assigned duties,” according to city records.

Bates appealed that termination and a grievance board then recommended to the city commission that Bates be reinstated.

City commissioners agreed then to reinstate Bates to his position, with back pay.

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