February 5, 2009

Public Health Administrator skipped work, lost a $60,000 grant, city alleges in response to complaint

Update: Nothing yet from the JT on this story, despite two previous stories reporting Grammer's allegations against the city. Guys, a link to the city's response is at the end of this post ... you have the info.

Original Post: Racine Public Health Administrator Janelle Grammer didn't show up for work for days at a time and had long-standing problems managing her employees, according to the city's response to Grammer's discrimination complaint.

Grammer filed a Family and Medical Leave complaint against the city Jan. 26 alleging City Administrator Ben Hughes, her supervisor, unfairly reprimanded and criticized her for taking leave for a serious medical condition.

The city's response, filed with the state Equal Rights Division, offers a different story. The nine-page report written by private Attorney Susan Love, hired by the city, lays out a series of performance-related issues with Grammer dating back to August 2007. Former Mayor Gary Becker and City Administrator Ben Hughes dealt with several complaints from Health Department employees who alleged Grammer was not doing her job.

Specifically, Grammer didn't show up for work between Sept. 17 and Sept. 28, and never notified Hughes or anyone else with the city she would be gone, according to the city's response. She also didn't show up between Dec. 1 and Dec. 5, and failed to attend a city meeting on Dec. 8 to submit a needed grant application.

The city's response also says Grammer lost a $60,000 United Way grant, resulting in a city layoff, was slow in implementing a state grant to reduce infant mortality in Racine and didn't finish a state-mandated health survey.

Despite complaints, city officials allege they gave Grammer several opportunities to improve her performance, but she declined to take them. She filed her discrimination complaint after Hughes reprimanded her and after she was approved to take Family Medical Leave.

The city's response to Grammer's complaint asks the state to throw out Grammer's complaint because it without merit, and because it was not filed by a state-mandated deadline.

Read the city's full response is here.


  1. Are we seriously expected to believe any of this dribble from the city?

  2. Dude, did you read it though? Sounds bad/lazy to me, for a big-buck city employee.

  3. anon 11:49

    It's "drivel", not "dribble".

    And yes, I find it believable. This letter has dates, times, names, and specific proof offered. Grammer's complaint has one sloppy hand-written paragraph.

  4. You're right, it's drivel, my mistake. I think the city is good at creating whatever "proof" they feel they need, so in my opinion it's still drivel.

  5. Nice to know that the City of Racine is learning from Mr.Joe Gobbles
    Thank God that The Red Army is come to clean out the mess left by Herr Mayor Becker

  6. Ben Hughes and Gary Becker have no credibility with "the City." The only recourse they have is to lie, and to lie through an attorney who crafts their words and magnifies falsehood. Naughty naughty

  7. Attorney Susan Love, isn't that the same attorney that "investigated" the other harrasment case? As I recall her investigation concluded that Becker was not having an affair. Great investigating huh?

  8. Two things:

    (1) Why the hell do we continually hire outside legal help (at taxpayer expense) when the city allegedly has Atty's working for them.

    (2) How is this lady responsible for losing a grant?? What the hell are we paying a supposed "grant writer" 100K + to do??

    This city is retarded.

  9. Anon 10:42:

    Getting a grant is one thing; satisfying its requirements by spending the money as promised and achieving the desired results is quite another.

  10. Satisfying the grant requirements requires documentation, proof, records, decent data. So if the PHA wasn't up to snuff on this, she did cause the grant to go poof. The secret of grant requirements is daily upkeep which is a pain but doing so can make the obligation stay true and on point and anyone could retrieve that documentation from said computer. Actually, the city is pretty good at obtaining information from computers.

    So, if requirements aren't met, documentation is non-existent or not factual - poof goes the money.

  11. I thought they (the city) already got rid of the person who was in charge of that grant?

    The grant administrator's title would sound as though she's not just reponsible for getting grants, but administering them.

    If she (grant administrator) isn't doing it now, wouldn't it make sense to have her overseeing all the grants that come in and making sure all the paperwork is being turned in, etc? I mean, it doesn't sound as though the grants are just pouring in that there are just too many to manage.

    Sounds to me like Ben Hughes is placing blame where and on whom it is most convenient.

  12. Did the grant admin keep Grammer from showing up to work?

  13. Janelle Grammer has no basis for this complaint. I work for the City. She was NOT doing her job. Some of you are bashing Ben Hughes and shouldn't be. Mr. Hughes isn't "placing blame where and on whom it is most convenient." It is real easy to take cheap shots about a situation when you know nothing about it. The reason the City has to hire an outside attorney - conflict of interest. For the people who think the City is covering up something - your are WRONG.

  14. "The reason the City has to hire an outside attorney - conflict of interest."

    Are you sh**ing me? By definition, EVERY case brought against the City could be a "conflict of interest" - even if it weren't an employee we are all still "the people". Why is there a single city attorney let alone the staff if this were true?

    Ok, now one more person thinks this smells funny -

  15. Anon 7:54 PM - You are one of the people who just don't understand how things work. The only thing that smells funny is Janelle Grammer's complaint. She's after the money. She was a bad head of a department who did not know how to work with people. Know what you are talking about before you speak.

  16. Anon 6:27 - you do protest too much me thinks. And why would you assume myself or any of the other posters do not know what we are talking about or don't work for the city?

    I don't need to start my posts with "I work for the city" to somehow validate what I write, but you seem to feel the need.

    You remind me very much of another insecure incompetent city hall employee I know who gets sick enjoyment in seeing someone else get screwed over.

  17. anon 8:55 - I know very well how things work, thank you. Grammer's complaint may very well be ridiculous but that was not my point. My point was that when second and third parties are brought in - at great expense - the water begins to become a bit turbid. In addition, have you ever seen someone have their personel file filled with backdated "issues", supportive emails mysteriously vanished from servers, people promised (wink wink) promotion or threatened (wink wink) with trouble of their own if they don't suddenly recall "issues" or forget certain other "issues", etc.?

  18. I am one who is quite critical of the grant administrator and her lack of knowledge and progress.

    HOWEVER, in this case, the person in charge of a said department would have to provide documentation, authorization, oversee the work done, file progress reports on time, etc., in order to maintain the grant.

    I have worked with grants for decades and if you did it on a daily basis or even every other day, it makes things quite neat for retaining the grant. Thus, a grant administrator as was hired by the city wouldn't have access to each department's progress on their individual dept grants, it would be almost impossible to police the grants in each department. For instance, let's use Kenosha Fire as an example. They themselves went out and got a grant a few years ago to have firefighters go door to door and install free smoke detectors. They didn't have a grant administrator but someone in the dept researched and went after that grant, wrote it up, submitted it., etc. The documentation was done by the FD personnel and if they had a grant administrator, it would be cumbersome and lack efficiency to try and apply for grants on one hand and on the other try and compile the daily documentation of the ff who would go out and do the smoke detector installment, keep track of hours, who did what for how long, etc.

    Sorry for the length but as much as I think Racine's grant administrator is not equipped to perform the duties, she would not and should not be involved in individual dept record keeping. That goes to the dept head who in turn may or may not turn in final report to the ga or to the grantor.

  19. If the individual departments are applying for their own grants, and maintaining their own grants, what exactly is the grant administrator for?

  20. If the department head was out on sick leave for an extended period of time, wouldn't her boss (Ben Hughes) have suspected she would not be able to keep up with the paperwork for maintaining the grant? Shouldn't someone else in the department have been chosen to take the responsibililty?

    Ultimately, I'd think the brunt of the responsibility and any failures should fall on the city administrator's shoulders. Sick leave isn't planned ahead of time in most cases, things happen.

    It's too bad Hughes wasn't able to step in and take charge - isn't that what he is supposed to be able to do in his position?

  21. "What comes around goes around"...how true...I worked for the city from '99 until Grammer arrived. Grammer didn't think my dad having major surgery was reason enough for me to take a day off. She said that she "needed me there". Wonder why...maybe because she's never there???