Loris City Hall has announced the six member Grievance Committee to include Tonsheka Wilson, Esau Johnson, James Bellamy, Ken Grate, Rick Green and Gwendolyn Gerald. Council approved the committee members at the Tuesday, Jan. 14, city council meeting. The committee consists of a combination of employees of the city and citizens in Loris who have been appointed by the city administrator to volunteer their time to be a part of the committee.
The standing committee is formed to receive grievances from employees who feel they have been wrongfully terminated from their position with the city of Loris. A hearing is scheduled where both parties are given the opportunity to provide information to help the committee understand both sides. After the hearing the committee meets to discuss the information received in the hearing and write their recommendation. The committee does not make the final decision, their recommendation is sent to the city council who meet in executive session to make the final determination. Wilson said, “I have served almost two years on the committee and I believe we have only held three grievance hearings.” Each member serves a total of three years.
Damon Kempski, city administrator, who resigned July 2019, formed the Grievance Committee as a system to help with concerns when an employee felt wrongfully discharged from employment with the city.
The Grievance Committee is not to be confused with an ombudsman who is impartial, independent and provide a free service. Many large corporations offer the service of an ombudsman who will investigate complaints that have not been resolved by the organization. An ombudsman is a legal representative often appointed by the government or organization to investigate complaints made by individuals in the interest of the citizens or employees. They investigate complaints when things have been handled badly or unfairly when an employee suffers as a result.
Wilson said, “The grievance committee only comes in to play if there has been an employee who feels they have been wrongfully terminated.”