UPDATE: Upshur County Commissioners OK firing of building maintenance supervisor

UPDATE: GILMER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - In a surprise move, Upshur County Commissioners Court voted 3-0 with one abstention today to fire longtime county Building Maintenance Supervisor Charles Daniels for what County Judge Dean Fowler termed violating "rules for the use of outside trustees from the jail."

Daniels supervised inmates who cleaned the courthouse, landscaped county property, and maintained other county buildings. After Monday's meeting of the court, Fowler said Daniels improperly took inmates to Gregg County several times when he went to buy supplies for projects, and that he improperly let them "use the land line in his office for personal calls. . .a very serious breach of security."
"On one occasion, he left four inmates unattended in the parking lot at Sam's (in Longview) for over half an hour," Fowler said. An Upshur County citizen saw Daniels and the inmates there, and called Pct. 3 County Commissioner Cole Hefner, the judge said.

On occasions when Daniels went to Sam's for supplies, he took inmates with him rather than returning them to jail and "he didn't think there was anything wrong with it," the judge said.

But "the violations were serious enough that he could have lost his jail certificate," Fowler told The Tyler Paper. And most commissioners "felt like this is the only decision they could make in order to maintain the use of jail trustees."

However, Fowler said Daniels committed no violations of law "that I'm aware of."

Daniels, 62, had worked for the county nearly 19 1/2 years, including 12 as building maintenance supervisor. He was in the courtroom audience when the court terminated him, and declined comment immediately after the meeting to The Tyler Paper.

Hefner, saying it was "probably the hardest decision I've ever had to make since I've been here," made the motion to fire Daniels after the court met with the supervisor during part of an hour-long closed session.

"I think the world of you, Charlie," Hefner said, but added he was moving to terminate the supervisor "due to the circumstances." Commissioners Mike Spencer and Lloyd Crabtree voted for the motion, while Commissioner James Crittenden abstained. Fowler, who normally casts only tie breaking votes, did not vote.

Daniels told Crabtree in the courthouse hallway afterward, "Ain't no big deal. . .I've been blessed," and he expressed appreciation for having the opportunity to work for the county.

Soon after that, as Daniels was on the elevator to depart, Hefner said, "I'm sorry, Charles." Daniels replied, "No problem."

During today's special session, the court also accepted the resignation of County Road Engineer Eric Fisher, which was submitted last week. Fisher puts in his last day tomorrow.


UPSHUR COUNTY (KYTX) - Monday morning, Upshur County commissioners voted to fire the business maintenance supervisor during a special meeting in Gilmer.

According to Precinct 1 Commissioner James Crittenden, former building maintenance supervisor Charles Daniel was fired from his position of 19 years for taking and leaving 4 county jail trustees unattended while he went into Sam's Club in Longview for about a half hour.

Daniel's also reportedly allowed a trustee to use his cellphone.

The incidents were reported to Precinct 2 Commissioner Cole Hefner from a county resident and Hefner brought the violations to the attention of county authorities.

Hefner was part of a 3-0 vote to fire Daniels; Crittenden abstained from the vote.

Upshur County commissioners named assistant building maintenance director Tim Saxon as interim building maintenance director. Applications for this position will be accepted until January 5th. The new maintenance director will be named on January 15th.

Commissioners also accepted the resignation of Road Engineer Eric Fisher and named Danny Thompson as the interim for at least 60 days.

Fisher accepted a job in Greenville with TxDOT.

Commissioners authorized county Judge Dean Fowler to spend up to $500 to advertise for the road engineer position through January 14th.



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