Fired oil and gas liaison’s pay claim denied
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Garfield District Judge James Boyd last week ruled against Garfield County’s former liaison to the oil and gas industry, Judy Jordan, who was seeking pay for the time she was on administrative leave before being fired in June.
Jordan, who was let go in mid-June after four years in the position, filed a small claims action in Garfield County Court in August seeking the roughly $1,300 she believed she was due from the county.
Because she was first placed on administrative leave, Jordan said the county owed her compensation for the week-long period of time before the decision was made to fire her.
She said Garfield County Building and Planning Department Director Fred Jarman, who became Jordan’s direct supervisor as part of an organizational restructuring in county government earlier this year, unjustly withheld that pay.
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“Fred justified his deprivation of my pay by accusing me of wrongdoing in the form of not conforming to personnel policies, such as ‘communication’ and ‘teamwork,'” Jordan contended in her claim.
“I have had an exemplary career over a period of over 26 years, without one prior incident of any superior ever accusing me of poor communication … or any other such deficit in attitude,” she said in the claim.
However, Judge Boyd ruled in favor of the county government at a Sept. 7 hearing attended by several top-level county employees. Boyd also denied a motion by Jordan that her personnel files be released to support her claim for pay, and ruled that the county had the right to fire her “at will” under Colorado law.
Jordan contends the county made up reasons to fire her, and that the decision was more political in nature as a result of heat from the oil and gas industry.
“It has been widely speculated that the county, in trumping up charges against me, was acting as the puppet of the oil and gas industry, which has notoriously resented and attacked me for telling the truth about its adverse effects on citizens,” Jordan wrote in her motion seeking release of the files.
Earlier in the year, when the Garfield Board of County Commissioners reorganized the county’s departmental structure, Jordan had been essentially demoted from her initial rank as head of her own department, to having her department folded into the county’s building and planning department.
Jordan then reported to Jarman, instead of county manager Ed Green, as she had since being hired in 2007.
In a followup interview this week, Jordan said she is not actively pursuing any other recourse against the county at this time.
“I don’t argue termination,” she said. “The county commissioners are a political body that responds to citizens, and that includes oil and gas officials. They are allowed to bend to their constituents, whoever that is.
“My argument is that the way they did it was all wrong,” she said.
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