Las Vegas Sun

November 16, 2018

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Gilbert blames disgruntled employees

Bob Gilbert says allegations of misconduct swirling around his activities as construction chief at the Community College of Southern Nevada spring from employees disgruntled over his management decisions.

But college President Richard Carpenter told the Sun he has investigated some of the employees' complaints about management abuse and found them valid. He said he is taking corrective action.

Employees complain, in formal grievances and to the Sun, that Gilbert and facility supervisor Matthew Goins prevented workers from speaking out about problems in their department. The intimidation techniques included verbal harassment, continuous changes in shifts and job locations, and undeserved write-ups. At the same time, the employees allege , Gilbert and Goins rewarded workers who complied with under-the-table side jobs and unearned overtime from the college.

At least 11 employees have filed grievances in the past year alleging that Gilbert and Goins created a hostile work environment.

More than one-third of the college's operations and maintenance staff have left since Gilbert took over the department in July 2005. Gilbert said he shifted people around to better meet the department's job duties, and in the process, people were promoted, demoted and fired.

"A new manager always hears problems," Gilbert said.

Goins declined to comment.

Carpenter said he found that maintenance workers and custodians were punished by having their shifts changed or being unfairly transferred to other campus locations without proper notice.

The problems came to a head in December after one custodian, Henderson night shift supervisor Tom Kovach - who had no working vehicle and walked to work - was switched to the West Charleston campus with one day's notice.

To get to his new assignment, Kovach borrowed his son's motorcycle and got into an accident. He broke his clavicle and some ribs and dislocated his shoulder.

Another maintenance worker, speaking on the condition he not be identified, provided documents showing that his schedule and location had been changed 15 times in about as many months. Conditions under Goins became so bad, the worker asked for a demotion to become a janitor in another department - but the transfer was blocked by Goins and Gilbert.

Workers said that when Gilbert ignored their grievances, they complained to the human resources staff, which referred them back to Gilbert.

Employees across the college have reported similar problems with supervisors and human resources ignoring grievances.

Some have filed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or Nevada Equal Rights Commission complaints citing racial, sexual or religious discrimination.

Carpenter said he demoted Goins from his supervisor job, but Goins remains in the department. And Carpenter said Gilbert and other supervisors at the college were warned about the consequences of ignoring grievances.

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