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City of Kyle Releases Allegations of Harassment by the Prior City Manager – J. Scott Sellers
NOTE: The information was received through the lawful process of the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA). The information released is considered to be true and authentic government records. The statements made are made by the person who wrote them. The matter is sensitive and the City of Kyle has failed to act to misconduct for many years.
On January 6, 2023, the City of Kyle released a couple of documents related to the resignation of J. Scott Sellers. Although we did not receive the initial complaint made to place Sellers on administrative leave, we did receive information to indicate there is widespread harassing conduct in the workplace.
This was all made public, through process of this released information because an undisclosed employee, protected by the TPIA under 552.101, made a disclosure of alleged conduct which stemmed for an extensive period of time.
The City of Kyle Human Resources Department received an email on July 10, 2022. The email came about, because a local attorney contacted this employee. The employee indicated that Mr. Chevo Pastrano of the Pastrano Law Firm obtained the employees number from an unknown source and made contact.
“I have no idea how [Chevo Pastrano of the Pastrano Law Firm] obtained my personal cell phone number as I have never met or spoken to him prior to this call.” per the unnamed employee
Unnamed Employee Indicates Three Known Allegations of Harassing Conduct by J. Scott Sellers
Two of the three incidents mentioned by this employee were related to the employees own interactions with Sellers. The third dealt with the finance department staff.
The first incident occurred after hours:
Mr. Sellers commented that [she] was beautiful, attractive and smart woman and that eventually the garden would weed itself out. He went on to say “I probably shouldn’t be saying this to you but the fact that it’s after hours and we are in [a] parking lot its okay to tell you that.”
Because [she] thought that was an odd thing to hear, from the City Manager, [she] reported that conversation with Perwez [A. Moheet, Director of Finance] the next business day. [She] recall[ed] Perwez telling [her] that it was inappropriate for Mr. Sellers to say that to [her] and in fact said “it doesn’t matter if it is after hours or in the parking lot he is still the City Manager at all times.” That was the end of the first incident.e-Mail received through TPIA, written by the unnamed employee to the City of Kyle Human Resources Director
The second incident involved retro pay during a scheduled visit in Sellers office to discuss the matter:
While [she] proceeding to ask him if there was anyway he would consider approving the retroactive pay, $4.00/hour, for [her] position Mr. Sellers diverted the business conversation to ask [her] if [she] was married or single. [She] politely answered [she] was divorced to which he proceeded to ask [her] if [she] was dating anyone and when [she] said “excuse me” he said “do you have a boyfriend?” [She] answered him “yes [she] do[es],” to which he said “are you happy in that relationship?” [She] made it clear that [she] was dating a wonderful man and that he was good to [her kids]. [She] redirected the conversation back to [her] original question, to Mr. Sellers, as to whether or not he would approve [her] getting retroactive pay because [she] had been “grossly” underpaid for so long. He once again diverted the conversation and asked [her] if [she] was a woman of faith? Once again [she] answered him and said “ yes, [she] ha[s] a strong faith.” He went on to discuss [her] relationship with [her] boyfriend and asked if he stayed at [her] house to which [she] recall[ed] saying that [they] had a respectful relationship and that was important for [her kids] to see it as such. [she] returned once again asking [her] question to whether he would approve retro pay for the increase to which he again said he couldn’t do.
After that meeting [she] immediately went to Perwez’ office and reported the unusual questions that Mr. Sellers had asked [her] about [her] relationship status. [She] also informed him that Mr. Sellers had denied the retro pay. Perwez appeared uncomfortable and voiced concern that Mr. Sellers should have never asked those inappropriate questions of [her].e-Mail received through TPIA, written by the unnamed employee to the City of Kyle Human Resources Director
The third incident was done in a group meeting:
This also brought another memory where all of the Financial Service Department were working remotely during COVID-19. [They] had an all hands meeting and Mr. Sellers joined [their] meeting. He went on to state that he had found a secluded/private river and that if anyone wanted to join him [they] could go skinny dipping. In particular he was trying to convinced [an unnamed employee] to go. [Another unnamed employee] kept declining that invitation and every single female declined but that was in front of all Financial Services.e-Mail received through TPIA, written by the unnamed employee to the City of Kyle Human Resources Director
Allegations of Harassment by a Prior Assistant City Manager are Claimed to be Passed Over as Unimportant
The exposure of Sellers brought up another matter:
Which leads [the unnamed employee] to another incident that involved Mr. James Earp. At one of the monthly employee meetings [she] was sitting in the front row with [redacted prior employee] and [redacted prior employee], former employee, and Mr. Earp walked by and gently grabbed [the unnamed employee that wrote this complaints] thigh, with his right hand, and gave [her] a gentle squeeze and said “ good morning,” he was acting city manager at the time. While [she] was shocked [she] recall[ed] [a former employee] reporting it to [the Human Resources Director]. After [this former employees] conversation with [the Human Resources Director] [the former employee] told [the unnamed employee] that [the Human Resources Director] said “oh thats just how James is.” [She] never heard about that incident other than [the Human Resources Directors] response “oh thats how James is,” from [the prior employee], which seems to have dismissed it as “usual behavior from James.”e-Mail received through TPIA, written by the unnamed employee to the City of Kyle Human Resources Director
Sellers Rewarded in Separation Agreement
- The City of Kyle must give a neutral reference.
- The City of Kyle cannot make any disparaging remarks, whether oral, written or electronic.
- Sellers is rewarded $179,480.37 for his separation from the City of Kyle.
REMINDER: This publishing is presented based upon TPIA information received.
A Couple of Our Other Reads
You may be interested in learning about a petition of mandamus filed on Sellers, which was non-suited after an unlawful process completed in the filers favor.
Or you may be interested in learning about TPIA records being improperly withheld by the City of Kyle.
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Categories: The Field Review - Local