A lawsuit filed in the 10th District Court against the city and City Manager Cesar Garcia was triggered after a former human resources director, who is seeking more than $200,000 in damages, claimed she was wrongfully terminated by Garcia, her attorneys said.
Attorney Braxton Evans argues the timeline of Madeline “Patty” Rees’ resignation supports the lawsuit’s claims she was wrongfully terminated in violation of her contract in late January in retaliation for reporting possible illegal conduct by the city manager.
“I am resigning with the city of La Marque as of Feb. 3,” she wrote in her resignation letter. “I categorically deny the allegations you have made against me. I am willing and able to provide a rebuttal statement with evidence upon receipt.”
The incident also resulted in Police Chief Randall Aragon accusing Garcia of interfering with police duties, and the city council directing Garcia to work on a performance and security improvement plan.
The city hasn’t hired a human resources director since Rees’ departure, which Evans said proves the resignation wasn’t planned.
Claims by Garcia that Rees was asked to resign for “performance-based” reasons also are untrue, according to the lawsuit.
“We believe that the city manager was upset about the reports Patty made after the incident,” Evans said.
Once those reports were created, Garcia was pointing fingers and looking for reasons for Rees’ dismissal, Evans said.
The city is declining to comment on the case until papers regarding the lawsuit are received, J.B. Pritchett, city spokesperson, said.
The Daily News has been unable to reach Rees since her departure from the city.
“Patty Rees had an impeccable record with the city for 15 years,” Evans said. “There has been a lot of turnover in the city, and Patty has been consistent throughout that process.
“Collecting those reports was just her regular line of work,” Evans said. “Her dismissal shows that this wasn’t a well-thought-out plan.”
The lawsuit was also triggered by Garcia telling The Daily News Feb. 2 that Rees’s departure was not related to the lockdown incident, according to documents.
“It was performance-based,” Garcia told The Daily News of the action against Rees on Feb. 2. “She will be missed.”
A hearing status update for the lawsuit is set for Aug. 9.
Welcome to the discussion.
Internet forum rules ...
Real names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it clean. Don't use obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be brief. Keep posts to 150 words or less.
Edit yourself. No more than two posts per thread and stay on topic. Do not link to sites outside galvnews.com.
Be aware. All posts are property of The Daily News and may be republished in print.
Be proactive. Use the "Report" link on each comment to let us know of rule violations.