Former Stacy Sports Grill employee challenges city over termination

The Stacy council scheduled a special meeting July 14 to meet with former Stacy Sports Grill employee Sarah Asquith and her attorney, Richard Williams, in an ongoing dispute regarding the circumstances of Asquith’s termination of employment.

Asquith has requested that the normally closed meetings be declared public. All records in regard to the meeting are available and open to the public. The council listened and questioned Williams, occasionally sparring over the circumstances of the termination while Asquith looked on quietly.

Williams said emphatically there were no policy violations and called the city’s documents “factually inaccurate.” He pointed out that if Asquith’s dismissal was over attendance issues, there is nothing in the personnel file citing violation of policy. Williams stated the city has nothing to support the termination of employment. He suggested the termination was in response to Asquith filing a grievance over the purported policy violations.

“The city can’t fire her for retaliation for exercising her personnel rights,” Williams said. He added that the city’s documentation of Asquith’s supposed transgressions as an employee is “incomplete and inaccurate.”

Stacy City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer recommended to the council that the Stacy Sports Grill manager, Lori Dahle, respond. According to Dahle, Asquith was terminated from her position due to numerous personnel issues. Asquith and her attorney maintain that Asquith was terminated as a result of a “personality conflict.”  Dahle was asked to provide the contents of Asquith’s personnel and supervisory files. She contends that Asquith had been absent, had not followed procedure and had violated personnel rules. Asquith, in turn, accused Dahle of not advising her of certain policies until after an incident had occurred.

Dahle gave a summary of events from her files, a summary which contradicts the version of events presented by Williams on behalf of Asquith. Dahle denied reprimanding Asquith in writing and removing Asquith from the work schedule in retaliation for Asquith complaining both within the city’s organizational structure and outside.

The Stacy council members both observed and asked questions as each side presented their story. The end result of the meeting was uncertainty.

“It seems clear to me there has been a threat of legal action,” Stacy Mayor Mark Utecht said.

The mayor requested to close the meeting again. Williams on behalf of his client insisted the meeting remain open.

The council agreed they need more time to investigate and also to confer with Grundhoefer on what course of action the city should pursue. The record, for now, is held open with the council reviewing the matter and continuing this meeting with Asquith and Williams on July 29.

Asquith simply wants her job back.

“All I had asked for was mediation, and now this is blown way out of proportion,” she said to the Post Review.

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