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Date of Issue: July 12, 2007

Employee payback approved by city

Bud Bates is not only back at work with back pay, but his benefits, which were questioned after being terminated from his job in the Bradenton Beach Public Works Department, have been reinstated.

Bates, an 11-year employee with the city, was fired April 26 by public works director Tom Woodard based on “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 his termination and a grievance board meeting was held, at which appeal board members Cheryl Lycans, Don Brown and George Turner heard more than three hours of testimony on the matter.

The board voted 2-1 to recommend to the city commission that Bates be reinstated. Lycans was opposed.

City commissioners agreed and reinstated Bates to his position - with back pay - last month,.

But there was a question regarding his benefits and leave-time package, which was not specifically mentioned in the June 6, 2007, commission action.

At issue was $354.98 in Bates’ benefit package.

Commissioners last week questioned whether or not the benefits should be paid, and then questioned city attorney Ralf Brookes on the matter. Brookes said he would have to research the matter and could present the commission with a memo on the issue, “but it would probably cost this amount” in attorney fees, he indicated, equal to the amount Bates was requesting in benefit payback.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to pay the benefit funds, with Mayor John Chappie and Vice Mayor John Shaughnessy dissenting. Chappie opposed the reinstatement of Bates when the commission took up the matter last month; Shaughnessy noted that Bates had signed an agreement to accept the back pay from the city, not inclusive of the benefits.