A candidate for State Representative oversaw an illegal termination of an employee during his tenure as city manager of Fritch, Texas, a former employee tells the Amarillo Pioneer.
Carrie Anne-Gallagher, a former police officer from Fritch, says that Brassfield oversaw her illegal termination last year. In legal records released to the Amarillo Pioneer, Gallagher says that she was terminated by Fritch police chief Houston Gass on May 4, 2017, after complaining to Gass about the alleged misconduct of city manager Brassfield. A letter from Gallagher's attorney, Chris Hesse, states that Gass terminated her before giving her a signed letter of grievance, which violated the Government Code, as it was written at the time.
A letter dated May 5, 2017, written by Police Chief Gass, stated that he terminated Gallagher after Gallagher told him that city manager Brassfield engaged in improper conduct while he was the resource officer at Panhandle Independent School District. Gass said in his letter that he launched an investigation and the result of the investigation "rendered [the] claims to be false." He then chose to terminate her and she received a dishonorable discharge from the Fritch Police Department.
Hesse then sent a letter to city manager Brassfield on June 9, 2017, stating that Gallagher complained of Gass' decision to terminate her as well as discrimination based upon gender. Hesse then told Brassfield that due to her actions of reporting a violation of the law regarding misconduct of a fellow officer to the district attorney on February 23, 2017, that she was protected under the Whistleblower Statute of the Government Code, which prohibited her termination.
On June 13th, after receiving Hesse's latter, Brassfield sent a letter to Gallagher annulling her termination and restored her seniority, back pay and benefits within the department. Her termination dishonorable discharge was also cancelled with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, according to Brassfield's letter.
On July 7th, Gallagher was then again terminated by Gass on the grounds of her previous comments regarding Brassfield in May. In a letter obtained by the Amarillo Pioneer, signed by Chief Gass, Gass says he contacted Carson County Sheriff's Office chief deputy Tam Terry to discuss Gallagher's comments regarding Brassfield. Gass said in the letter that Terry had not heard of any such complaints or investigations and neither had Chief Sace Hardeman of the Panhandle Police Department. Based on his investigation, Gass chose to then terminate her on July 7th based on the need for a "officer's reputation for truthfulness." Gallagher again received a dishonorable discharge, which she is still challenging today.
Gallagher says that after receiving the letter in July from Gass, she considered suing the City of Fritch under the Whistleblower Statute. However, after consulting with her attorney, Gallagher chose not to sue the City of Fritch and instead filed to run for Mayor of Fritch against incumbent W. Kelly Henderson.
In response to this article, Brassfield said that no actions were taken by the City of Fritch that were "knowingly illegal." Brassfield also went on to say that "sometimes mistakes happen."
"Every personnel action we take is within the bounds of the law and sometimes mistakes happen," Brassfield said.
On the topic of his alleged improper conduct at Panhandle ISD, Brassfield called the allegations "absolutely false" and said that accusations are being made because of "political" disagreements.
Brassfield is running for state representative in the March 6th Republican primary against incumbent Four Price.
*This article has been updated with a quote from Drew Brassfield