Embattled Veterans Service Officer Files Grievance Against County Commissioners

starke-county-courthouseA Starke County employee who was relieved of his duties during Monday’s commissioners meeting has filed a grievance seeking to be reinstated. The commissioners voted 2-0 to replace Veterans Service Officer Terry Turner with Mark Gourley. Commissioner Don Binkley made the motion to terminate Turner, and President of the Commissioners Kent Danford seconded it. Commissioner Kathy Norem did not vote.

After the meeting Danford said he has received several complaints about Turner.

Turner’s grievance, which he filed with the Starke County Auditor’s Office, claims Danford never gave him an oral or written warning about any improper actions and asks for a list of community members and veterans who have complained. Turner also takes exception with Binkley’s comments that veterans are not able to contact him because he does not have a county email address.

Turner claims, “the action by the commissioners violated all the handbook steps” and states that unless Danford’s accusations are proven the commissioners action in dismissing him is slander. He adds there is also a possibility his removal and replacement is a civil rights violation related to age discrimination.

His grievance asks that he be reinstated as service officer and be given any lost pay. Turner also asks Danford to either resign or issue a public apology. WKVI News contacted Danford, who declined comment because he had not yet seen a copy of the grievance.

County attorney Marty Lucas tells WKVI News he’s received a copy of the grievance from the auditor but cannot speak to the specifics of Turner’s allegations. He adds the commissioners will likely discuss the matter in an executive session but notes any action will need to be taken in a public meeting.

Click Terry Turner Grievance to read a copy of his filing.