By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Port Isabel City Secretary Susie Alcocer has amended her age discrimination complaint against the City to include retaliation, according to documents obtained by the Press.
Alcocer first filed the complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Civil Rights Division last month after a $3 per hour decrease to her salary went into effect. Alcocer claims she was the only City employee to receive a pay reduction, while Nadini P. Jee, assistant city secretary, simultaneously received a pay increase during a time of drastic spending cuts and a hiring freeze instituted to help ameliorate a $1.2 million budget deficit.
Since making the complaint, Alcocer’s attorney, John Shergold, has been present at every City commission meeting and has spoken on behalf of his client during Public Comments.
Tensions rose briefly prior to the Commission’s Oct. 12 meeting when Alcocer informed the board that she had been instructed not to take the meeting’s minutes. Shergold objected to the directive, saying it was solely his client’s responsibility to take minutes. Eventually, the meeting proceeded, with both Alcocer and Jee taking minutes of the meeting.
In her amended complaint, Alcocer alleges that she was subject to retaliation for speaking up at the meeting. “On October 27, 2015, Hockema approached me prior to the start of the regular scheduled commission meeting and handed me a letter of reprimand,” Alcocer writes in the complaint. She adds that the contents of the reprimand are ‘false’ and ‘petty.’
In an email sent to the Press, Hockema said he could not speak about personnel matters, but did say that, “Elements of the complaint are mischaracterizations.”
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