Here’s some of the stuff we’re learning about Dr. Gilles Meloche, the director of Metro Animal Services, and the recent winner of a Golden Poo award from us. The category: Worst Example of Total Incompetence from a Local or State Official in an Appointed Post.
He earned that dubious award for a string of bad behavior related to his administration of his department. This includes his recent series of denials, in June, that his agency was under investigation by the state after allegations of mismanagement and overcrowding surfaced. Mayor Jerry Abramson hired Meloche in 2005.
We’ve heard all kinds of rumors about Meloche’s rude treatment of staff, but never had anything to back that up. Until now.
It concerns an employee, Dawn Marie Simpson. We’ve tried to reach her without success, but learned recently that she’s no longer working for MAS. We obtained these records through an Open Records Request.
Read the Rest of This Mess After the Jump…
Last July 30, she filed a formal sexual harassment complaint against Meloche. An excerpt:
I have been subjected to or witnessed many instances of inappropriate sexual behavior from Dr. Meloche. At first, like many others, I chalked his offensive behavior up to cultural differences based on his French-Canadian background. However, his disrespectful behavior makes me feel that he does not view me as an educated, experienced asset to his team and that he doesn’t take my work or input as seriously as my male counterparts.
Simpson provides two examples in her complaint. In one, she says she was discussing challenges in her work as an Animal Control Manager. She writes that Meloche reacted by hugging her, kissing her on the neck and sarcastically saying “Awww….poor baby.” In the other instance, she claims Meloche told her, during a business meeting, that “I always spend so much time looking at your brain I never noticed you had such beautiful legs. You should show those more often.”
After an investigation, Meloche received a written reprimand on Jan. 12, 2009 which said Simpson’s complaint had been substantiated, and Meloche was ordered to get counseling. The reprimand was signed by deputy mayor William Summers. It warned Meloche that he could be fired if there were further complaints.
But Simpson claims that she was subjected to retailiation for making the complaint in July. In September, she filed a complaint with Metro’s Human Resources department, claiming that immediately following her sexual harassment complaint, she began receiving hostile e-mails from Meloche and was reprimaned on Aug. 14, 2008 for failing to “include an individuals’ name on an e-mail.”
HR Compliance Director Karen Adams wrote on Dec. 22 that Simpson’s retaliation complaints had been investigated but could not be subtantiated.
On October 21, Simpson wrote to Asst. Director Wayne Zelinsky to complain about the hostile work environment. She wrote of an instance in which Meloche criticized her after someone she knew asked Meloche a question at a Mayor’s Community Conversation.
UPDATE FROM JAKE: CLICK HERE for a copy of the open records request. (Warning: PDF Link)