Coffee County 911 Communication Director Diane Argraves has filed a complaint against Sheriff Chad Partin citing allegations of discrimination and hostile work environment.
In a report from our news partner The Manchester Times asked Argraves for a statement, but she declined to comment at this time.
Partin said told the Times, “The Coffee County Communications Board will not comment on the current director’s state of mind.”
Please allow this letter to serve as my official complaint of discrimination against Coffee County Sheriff Chad Partin. I am also claiming Sheriff Partin has and is creating a Hostile Work Environment. This is not easy for me as I have served Coffee County in various roles over the years to include 38 years in our 911 Communication Center and four (4) years as an elected County Official. I am an active member and leader at my church and have been a proud member of this community for more than 50 years.
Our Mission Statement for the 911 Communication Center is “To enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Coffee County through the use of efficient, courteous, and professional cooperative communication for emergency services; thereby saving lives and protecting the property of the citizens.” I have lived that Mission for many years, so that (is) why l have a heavy heart in writing this letter.
I have attempted to partner with Sheriff Partin and to build a professional working relationship. Prior to Sheriff Partin joining the Comm. Center and 911 Boards, there were no issues with how I executed my role as the 911 Communication Center Director. I am honored to have been selected for this position and give my best to my team members, my leadership, our officers and the county. In fact, I have received positive feedback on the effectiveness of our operation under my leadership. My hope is that this letter will shed light on Sheriff Partin’s actions and that the discrimination and harassment will stop. Below you will find details to support my claims.
Gender and Age Discrimination:
It is my belief that Sheriff Partin is treating me differently because I am a female. Sheriff Partin has bullied, threatened and harassed me since he became a member of both the Comm Center and the 911 Boards. I have attempted to ignore his behavior, but his actions have only gotten worse. I believe this is a personal matter that Sheriff Partin has against me and any other women in authority in county government. He has threatened to take pay away from me if l did not learn how to perform accounting duties. I have served as the Director for three years and five months, and l have never been asked to perform accounting duties. It is not part of the job description for my role. I have reliably done my job as an employee of Coffee County since I began in April of 1983, and I continue to do my job as the Director.
As employees of the county, we must abide by the Coffee County Personnel Manual, which clearly states that all department heads are responsible for interviewing and hiring applicants. The department head is also responsible for handling disciplinary actions. Sheriff Partin is trying to take away my authority as the 911 Communication Center Director. Put another way, I am being treated differently than any other Department Heads. I do not know if this is due to my gender or my age, but this discrimination is not acceptable and needs to stop.
Sheriff Partin has also made unlawful derogatory remarks about my age. On several occasions Sheriff Partin has commented about my retirement implying it is time for me to move on and let someone else take over the role. This has been witnessed by board members, by an employee at the center and by me. This is unacceptable. I am being singled-out and treated differently by Sheriff Partin. Age discrimination can include offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s age. It is illegal when the comments are frequent or severe such that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment. That is how I feel. Sheriff Partin’s comments make me feel that he wants to remove me from my role. It is causing undue mental stress on me and my team.
Hostile Work Environment:
In addition, his bullying and threats have created a hostile work environment, which has made it difficult for me to do my work and feel comfortable performing my regular duties. Sheriff Partin has yelled at me during meetings and in front of my employees. I just want him to let me do my job.
Sheriff Partin came to the Communication Center one day and violently slapped on the glass yelling for someone to let him in the building. He walked in and pointed at me and aggressively said for me to get in my office now. He slammed my office door and started yelling at me in a manner that I have not experienced by any elected official. His face was red, and his voice carried loudly to the rest of the building. One of my team members commented that he was “out of control” and was worried he might hurt me. His actions disrupted our ability to perform our duties. Sheriff Partin has put undue mental stress on me personally and has made it difficult and uncomfortable for me to perform my work. Any reasonable person who experienced or witnessed his behavior would agree that it is not acceptable. I do not know if he is trying to make me quit, but I am passionate about doing my job and doing it to the best of my ability.
In summary, I’m writing to you because I truly believe in our Mission, and I have worked hard at the 911 Communication Center for the opportunity to serve as the Director. I trust that the county will take my complaint seriously and looking into this matter promptly. This situation is affecting my self-esteem and ability to concentrate at work.