The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

January 19, 2013

Records detail Stephens' exit as city worker


ENID, Okla. — Records outline allegations

Records show Stephens subsequently was terminated from employment with the city, based on allegations: He was at fault in the accident, causing more than $9,000 in damage to city property; he was not authorized to transport the inmate off city property; and his account of the accident “changed from his initial statement to statements that he made later.”

Those allegations were outlined in an Aug. 16, 2012, letter to Stephens from Enid City Manager Eric Benson regarding Stephens’ appeal of disciplinary action.

Benson stated in the letter Stephens was found by supervisors to have violated city policies regarding: insubordination, or refusal to comply with management’s lawful instructions; destruction of city property or property of others; falsification of records, or providing false information; and unreasonable failure to follow safety policies.

The letter states Stephens admitted he rolled the vehicle and had an inmate with him at the time, but denied he was at fault in the accident and claimed he was taking evasive action.

Stephens also argued in his appeal he was taking the inmate to a city water station on 10th, and so was not taking the inmate off city property, and that his “words may have changed” but his “story and account of the incident has not,” according to Benson’s letter.

The letter also states Stephens filed the appeal of his termination on the grounds he deemed the punishment inappropriate for the offense.

Benson wrote in his letter to Stephens, “These are all serious charges, with the punishment of any of these charges equating to suspension, demotion or discharge.”

Benson upheld Stephens’ termination, according to the letter, writing that Stephens’ employment record at the city “shows a history of discipline and low performance ratings.”

“This pattern demonstrates an unacceptable disregard for safe work practices and disregard of management’s instructions,” Benson wrote.

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