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Lambert testifies in trial of BISD employee accusing district of retaliation in seeking termination

Updated: Tuesday, July 1 2014, 03:45 PM CDT
BEAUMONT - Attorneys for a BISD employee who is seeking a Temporary Injunction to preserve his job are trying to show the placement of his name on a Reduction in Force list was retaliation for releasing public information to the media.

Ron Reynolds had been a communications specialist in the BISD administration building but was moved to the annex where he was a school business volunteer supervisor.

Reynolds' attorney contends he was moved because he provided certain public information requested by the media and in the process angered the superintendent, Dr. Timothy Chargois, and other administrators.

An attorney for BISD says the district put Reynolds on the RIF list based on salary and how the job impacted education.

Testimony began Monday in the 58th District Court in Jefferson County.

Witnesses Tuesday included Patricia Lambert, the former BISD Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools, Sybil Comeaux, the former BISD Executive Director of Human Resources, and Jessie Haynes, the Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Communications.

Here is some of the testimony KBTV reporter Lauren Huet captured in tweets from the courtroom:

Jessie Haynes takes the witness stand.

Comeaux says she didn't know Reynolds was reassigned until he told her he was no longer responsible for open records requests.

Comeaux says she didn't read Lambert's file. Says it was her department's job to pull files and give them to Reynolds.

Comeaux says she doesn't recall Lambert's file being on her desk because there was a request for all BISD admins' files.

Ms. Comeaux called to the stand.

Attorney for Reynolds read email from Lambert to Chargois about Reynolds where she wrote, "Look at this. As if he was my boss."

Reynolds' attorney asked Lambert if she told Chargois she was mad at Reynolds because he acted like her boss. She said no.

Lambert reads an email she wrote instructing the communications department not to speak to the media without her permission.

In email Lambert told Reynolds to "cease all contact" with a group he was in contact with, and for him to give her their number.

Reynolds' attorney shows email exchange between Lambert and Reynolds, with Chargois copied onto email.

Lambert says she did not have authority to instruct Reynolds.

Lambert called back to the witness stand.

Johnson says Lambert's social security number is not in the document, and the file has never been published.

Johnson brought Lambert's personnel file she requested. The one Lambert says has her Social Security number on it.

Reynolds' attorney calls reporter Jennifer Johnson from the Beaumont Examiner to the stand.

Reynolds' attorney says BISD created another position afterwards to handle open records requests. No longer Reynolds' job.

Attorney for BISD employee Ron Reynolds says Reynolds was sent to annex after that incident.

Lambert says BISD procedures for open records requests changed after that incident.

Lambert says she wasn't upset documents were released to the media, just that her Social Security number was released.

Patricia Lambert says in court she was upset because documents released to the Examiner showed her SSN.
Lambert testifies in trial of BISD employee accusing district of retaliation in seeking termination

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