Thursday, September 05, 2013

Hostile Workplace

Jane Anne Hodges, Luke Eggers, Bill Aceto, Kathleen Campell,
Donna Houcks. Photo High Country Press
At his first meeting of the Watauga County Board of Elections, Luke Eggers presented a resolution written by his brother “Four” Eggers which set out “Duties of Director of Board of Elections” and which contained new provisions aimed at Director Jane Anne Hodges, the likes of which had never before been seen in Watauga County.

One of those new “duties” imposed on Hodges decreed that she “shall not become involved in discussion or debate of political or discretionary decisions of the Board.”

At the BOE meeting yesterday, the three Board members debated the placement of the Boone 2 polling place. Should it be at Legends nightclub, which is what the two Republicans were determined to decree, and did decree, or in the new Linville Falls room in the Student Union? At one point, Democratic Board member Kathleen Campbell asked Director Hodges what her opinion was, and it was painful to watch that (almost) universally respected 27-year veteran of North Carolina elections ask Luke Eggers for permission to speak.

It was equally painful to watch the 20-something Luke Eggers deign to grant her that permission.

After the meeting, and well after Jane Anne Hodges had said that she would prefer the Linville Falls room for several good reasons, and would not prefer Legend’s nightclub for several good reasons, Luke Eggers was overheard to say to Hodges that he would be in her office later this week to cuss her out for her “performance” during the Board meeting.

This is the workplace that Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto have created for Jane Anne Hodges. She’s being treated like a counter-girl at a fast food joint, and Luke Eggers is resembling the teenaged manager of a Hardee’s.

Luke’s big brother Four tried to run Jane Anne Hodges off the director’s job as soon as Pat McCrory was elected governor. Four expected to be appointed chair of the Watauga BOE. That didn’t happen, so little brother Luke has inherited that project of getting rid of her. With her new “duties” in place (which also include the decree that no one can go into her office unaccompanied and everyone who visits or calls must be logged in), there’s a concerted effort to make Jane Anne Hodges’ working conditions so unpleasant that she’ll want to resign.

I believe it was Chair Josh Howard at the State Board of Elections hearing on Tuesday who sternly lectured both Eggers and Aceto that they should respect and listen to the advice of Jane Anne Hodges. Instead, they’re treating her like the cleaning woman.


Anonymous said...

Actually, they'd probably treat the cleaning woman with more respect. The cleaning woman wouldn't be in a position where she could embarrass them by making their stupidity visible.

Not Really said...

The (mis)treatment of Ms. Hodges, who is clearly just trying to do her job and by all accounts is very good at what she does, is one of the things that bothers me the most about the behavior of Eggers and Aceto. She deserves a lot more respect and they should be listening to what she says!