Daily Reports




Female Employees File Charges for Gender Discrimination and Retaliation by Commissioner Ernie Reynolds; Reynolds responds…

Carroll County Communications Director Ashley Hulsey and Solid Waste Director Jacqueline Dost have filed Charges of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against their employer, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, because of the alleged gender discrimination and retaliation they have been subjected to by certain Commissioners, specifically District 5 Commissioner Ernest “Ernie” Reynolds. Notably, current Chairman Michelle Morgan is the first ever female Chairman of the Board. All six Carroll County Commissioners are men.

The Charges allege that Reynolds has a problem with women, specifically women in positions of authority, and that he criticizes, belittles, and undermines women and the Chairman but praises male employees and the other male Commissioners.

Hulsey alleges that Reynolds praised a male colleague for a project on which she was the head coordinator but did not acknowledge her work. The Charges further allege that certain Commissioners, specifically Reynolds, subject female department heads to harsh and condescending questioning when they make routine requests to the Board but grant male department heads’ requests without resistance.

October 4 EEOC Charge of Jacqueline Dost

Dost alleges that her department has to use old equipment, while Public Works, which has a male director, gets new equipment and that Reynolds recently took the opportunity to attack her, question her competence, and retaliate against her when she went before the Board to request needed equipment for her department.

October 4 EEOC Charge of Ashley Hulsey

Hulsey further alleges that Reynolds has disparagingly referred to her and to two other female employees as Chairman Morgan’s “office girls,” and derogatorily referred to the organization as a college “sorority,” among other offensive comments.
Hulsey has also served as a Deputy Sheriff with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and her Charge states, “I have served for 13 years in law enforcement in this County and didn’t wear a badge just to be called an ‘office girl.’”

The Charges allege that every County employee received a raise in this past fiscal year, and some department heads, including Hulsey and Dost, received higher raises for taking on additional responsibilities. However, they allege, Reynolds repeatedly, publicly called out Hulsey, Dost, and a third woman for receiving raises and implied their raises were not earned but did not say anything about the male department heads who also received raises.

Hulsey alleges that she approached Reynolds and asked him why he did not call out the men who received more money and that he simply said, “that’s different” but did not explain why male department heads receiving raises is “different.”

Because of Reynolds’ public comments about the women but not the men and because they complained about biased treatment, Hulsey and Dost allege in their Charges, they have been
subjected to retaliation and ostracization by some colleagues, while others have privately acknowledged Reynolds’ disparate treatment of women or shared that they also fear retaliation if they come forward.
The Charges state that Hulsey and Dost filed internal grievances and Hulsey made an internal complaint and attempted to meet with Reynolds directly, but the Board has done nothing to prevent or correct the discrimination and retaliation.

Buckley Bala Wilson Mew Managing Partner Edward Buckley commented: “Our clients allege they have experienced a pattern of hostile treatment based on their gender, as well as retaliatory treatment after they called attention to the discrimination. They simply want to be treated the same as male employees and to continue serving Carroll County in peace. We intend to hold the Board and Commissioner Reynolds accountable.” Hulsey and Dost are represented by Edward Buckley and Camille Mashman of Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP in connection with their EEOC Charges.

Reynolds released a statement to WLBB Radio on Monday:

“I deny the frivolous and baseless allegations in the EEOC charges and will vigorously oppose these baseless claims to the fullest extent of the law.

This all stems from me watching out for the public taxpayers and ensuring a sound, frugal county budget.

I called out the Chairman for giving unfair raises to a handful of county employees – raises of from $10,000 to $24,000 per year – when the 700 other county employees had to be satisfied with raises of only $1/hour, which equates to only $2,080 per year.

I never had nor do I now have anything against these employees who were given these raises and nothing against their performance or any other reason for being given the raises. It’s not about them. It’s about the Chairman showing blatant favoritism and providing unfair raise amounts – based on all other 700 county employees getting only $1/hour ($2,080 per year), which is what we as the Board of Commissioners approved. We had no knowledge nor were we apprised of the Chairman giving these other raises.

Our job, as District Commissioners, according to our county charter, is to review and question and eventually approve the county’s budget. I take this charge seriously and I scrutinize the budget to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and frugally. I will continue to do that – regardless of any frivolous allegations. I realize this doesn’t always make friends, but it upholds proper stewardship and accountability in government. I will always support that and that is what my constituents expect.”

Chairman Michelle Morgan told WLBB Radio:

“We take any and all county employee complaints and concerns seriously. Each of these claims will be investigated thoroughly.”


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