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Love-Light Within Part 5
The Hearing Part II
It’s February 10th, 2010 and I’m staring through our patio slider windows at the snow on the ground in our backyard. I had my appeal hearing yesterday regarding the termination of my employment benefits. I can’t seem to stop obsessing about the details of the case.
In Oregon, it’s unusual for snow to last long on the ground. I take a deep breath to enjoy the peaceful vision of frost covered pine trees solemnly protruding in front of white draped mountains appearing on the distant horizon.
I think the hearing went well, but I am filled with uncertainty. I won’t know the result until the hearing official sends his written response to me at around the end of the week.
To postpone my anxiety somewhat, I pop a left over biscuit into the microwave from our visit yesterday to the River Valley Restaurant in down townCave Junction. As I am savoring the warm, soothing, semi-sweet flavor of the biscuit, I am joyfully anticipating eating the rest of the Spanish omelet and the home fries, which is a blend of onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and green chili smothered in cheddar cheese. For a blessed few moments in time, eating seems to push away the anxiety and give me the comfort I so desperately seek.
White fluffy stuff begins to drop from the grey sky. I am warm and cozy in our new rental home. Regardless of the outcome of the hearing, I am grateful to be alive. I’m also thankful that my previous employer did not show at the hearing and could not therefore establish that I engaged in any form of misconduct at the jail.
I was full prepared to argue my innocence by an elaborate hearing strategy, which I wrote down in another attempt to stem my free floating anxieties and fears. It actually did help to write out my defense. And I will share it with you now as a good example of having a plan to cope with any type of adversity:
I wish to appeal decision # 150203 in the matter of Gary B. Eby, ID# 57-124-629-780. In my opinion, the facts in this case do not support the allegation that I engaged in misconduct, which “was a wantonly negligent violation” of employee performance standards.
1. I was not an employee of the jail or the Department of Corrections. I was employed by Options for Southern Oregon who did govern policies pertaining to mental health counseling in my job description as a mental health therapist. There was nothing in my job description that prohibited me from doing family counseling in the jail clinic, which was considered to be my office.
2. For the last year and a half I saw many so called “unscreened” visitors, family members, and interested professionals in my office at the jail. Nobody raised security issues about this until the incidence in question happened.
3. The jail did not have written policies that prevented my doing counseling with inmate visitors, family members, and other interested parties. Also it was common practice for me to provide counseling to inmates in the jail clinic.
4. The jail administrator never had me review any written policies on security measures regarding visitors. If there was so much concern about this, why wasn’t I put through an orientation program on these matters?
5. Moreover, Options was not aware of concerns over security issues at the jail until the event in question happened. Why didn’t Options simply offer to provide me with training and workshops on security measures regarding inmates and their family members? I was an employee in “good standing” with Options for more than two years. I deserved to be treated better by my employer.
6. More importantly, Options failed to establish employer and employee review standards that would spell out protocol regarding performance standards, grievances, and conduct at the jail. Therefore, I was working in an environment where my employee rights were not protected.
7. The jail administrator refused to meet with me to fully process and investigate the facts of this case. This was a violation of my employee rights.
8. Options failed to inform me that I had a right to counsel or representation when they began to investigate the circumstances of this case. They also did not inform me of my right to appeal the decision in a face-to-face meeting with the CEO. These were more violations of my employee rights.
9. The jail administrator did not notify my supervisor of the issue at hand prior to unilaterally removing my security clearance. This was a violation of due process whereby employees prior to dismissal are entitled to receive a warning letter, then a counseling program for corrective action, and finally appropriate review and supervision, all before termination takes place.
#10. It should be noted that a deputy was on duty in the reception area when I asked to see the inmate visitor in my jail office for a counseling session. Why didn’t this deputy raise security issues at that time? Why didn’t this deputy inform me that visitors in my office could not bring personal belongings into that office? This had been allowed before without any problems.
11. I am sorry that this whole incident happened, however all the jail administrator had to do was to ask, “Gary are you aware that your client visitors must go through a security screening process?” I would have answered, “No.” And I would have gladly complied with this process. At the time of the event in question, I was unaware of the need to have my visitors screened. Therefore, I did not intentionally or willfully violate established jail procedures.
12. Also the visitor in question did offer to be searched by the jail administrator. This offer was declined. If security was the real issue, why wasn’t the visitor just searched and allowed to complete our counseling session?
13. I simply made an honest mistake regarding security issues at the jail. This whole matter could have been easily resolved if due process regarding my employee rights had been followed appropriately.
14. Therefore I ask for a just resolution of this matter, and I would like all my unemployment benefits to be restored to me from the time I first applied on 12-16-08.
The facts do not support the allegation that I am guilty of wantonly and negligent misconduct. I asked that a just solution be found here by restoring all my unemployment benefits back to the time I initially applied on 12-15-08.
Because Options wasn’t present at the hearing, I never got a chance to utilize fully my hearing strategy. The judge did take some of my testimony and he accepted into the record my previous letter which outlined my defense. But today, I am haunted by negative and obsessive thoughts that are suggesting to me that somehow I didn’t do enough to prove my innocence. It is time to release my fears, doubts, worries, and concerns to the power of the Love-Light
I pray for justice, abundance, healing, love, and peace of mind. I pray Dear God for your strength and your support. I see the hearing judge sending me a letter that restores my unemployment benefits. I feel a wonderful sense of relief knowing that our financial needs are being met today. I feel the warmth and comfort that comes from being surrounded by your Light. I walk and breathe in your Light. I am profoundly grateful for all that I have and for all that I will receive. Amen.
Gary Eby, Author/Life Coach/Thearpist
The Eby Way
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