Polk County Publishing Company, P.O. Box 1267, Livingston, TX. 77351 - (936) 327-4357
Main Sections

Polk County Enterprise

Houston County Courier

Groveton News

Big Thicket Messenger

San Jacinto Newstimes

Trinity Standard

Tyler County Booster

Corrigan Times



San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Stories Added - June 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company

Commissioner’s actions questionable
San Jacinto News- Times

SHEPHERD – A Precinct 2 employee had his job terminated and was then rehired soon after by Pct. 2 Commissioner Royce Wells after Wells accused him of hauling county aggregate material to his residence using a county dump truck for personal use. In an employment termination letter to Dan T. Everitt, dated April 22, 2010, Commissioner Wells states, “Monday, April 19, 2010 it came to my attention that you (Everitt) had used San Jacinto County Precinct 2’s equipment (dump truck) to haul aggregate material (intended for county use) to your residence for your personal use. This incident occurred Thursday, April 15, 2010 in the afternoon. Wells’ letter goes on to tell how he assigned his foreman, Darryl Richardson, to investigate the incident and make a written report to him. “Mr. Richardson determined that two loads of aggregate material were located on your property. Mr. Richardson determined by talking to one county employee that a county dump truck operated by you was loaded many times with aggregate material at the LL & F construction company site located on FM 150. This site is the future home of the Shepherd offi ce of the Texas Department of Transportation facility currently under construction. Your assignment was to haul the material to the county owned 13 acres located on Loop 424 inside the city limits of Shepherd to be used for county projects. Mr. Richardson documented, by photographs, two dirt piles located on your property,” Wells writes to Everitt. The letter to Everitt further states, “Mr. Richardson was instructed to get a written letter from you regarding the incident. In your letter, you admitted to removing the material from the above mentioned site without permission from any San Jacinto County Precinct 2 supervisor or commissioner. The material from the construction site was intended for the benefi t of San Jacinto County taxpayers. Your assignment on April 15, 2010, was to haul the material to the county owned 13 acres on Loop 424 within the city limits of Shepherd. Your home site was several miles in the opposite direction.” Wells ends the letter by stating, “Effective immediately, Dan T. Everitt’s employment with San Jacinto County is terminated.” Following his investigation and in a letter dated April 19, 2010, from Richardson to Commissioner Wells, Richardson states that he called Everitt into his office where Everitt said he “thought the material was no good and that he thought it was okay to take some to his house.” Richardson said Everitt game him a written statement stating he thought it was okay to take the material. “At approximately 1:15 p.m. we took two dump trucks and a front end loader, per Commissioner Wells, out to Everitt’s home and picked up the two loads of material and placed them at the 13 acres, property of San Jacinto County Pct. 2,” Richardson writes. County records obtained through open records requests show that Everitt attempted to collect unemployment benefits following his termination. Before approving Everitt’s claim for unemployment benefits the organization requested more information about Everitt’s claim saying Everitt informed them that “it was not out of the ordinary for him to have taken a load of dirt to his home from the ditches along the county roads because that is how they have been handling it all this time.” On April 28, records show that Everitt was paid $2,144.77 in vacation pay and that he was terminated by Commissioner Royce Wells for using a county dump truck to haul aggregate material belonging to the county to his home for personal use, violating San Jacinto County Policy 2.08. Commissioner Wells later sent a letter dated May 13, 2010 stating, “The claimant’s (Everitt) statement of ‘It was not out of the ordinary for him to have taken a load of dirt to his home from the ditches along the county roads because that is how they have been handling it all this time,’ is his attempt to confuse an approved action with one not approved by his supervisor, commissioner or commissioners’ court.” Wells went on the state that the county has approved giving commissioners the authority to give ditch dirt (dirt removed when cleaning out road ditches) to nearby property owners. “The material Mr. Everitt took to his property, outside Pct. 2, had a value to San Jacinto County and had been given to the county by a contractor who was building the Texas State Highway Department’s new facility,” Wells states in his May 13 letter. “In review of Mr. Everitt’s property no ditch dirt was found. The only material found at his property was the dirt in question, which was of value and given to the county for its benefit,” Wells further states in the letter. “The dump truck used to haul this dirt was owned by San Jacinto County and not for private use. No permission was asked for or given for this action,” Wells adds. Following this letter, on May 18, 2010, records show that Wells rehired Everitt on a fulltime basis in his Pct. 2 Road and Bridge department at a salary of $14.50 per hour. The San Jacinto News-Times attempted to contact Wells on three different occasions to determine if his investigation was in error as to Everitt’s possession of the aggregate and use of the county dump truck and to see if that was why Everitt was rehired, but our telephone calls were not returned. San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner said Monday that he was aware of the situation and that it had been discussed during executive session of commissioners’ court on June 8. Faulkner said he couldn’t say anything else because it was discussed in executive session, but added that Wells sent a dump truck out to Everitt’s property and moved it (aggregate) back.”

 

Polk County Publishing Company