Fired state worker files suit

Former water board man­ager su­ing agency, says she was let go for sup­port­ing a can­di­date.

Austin American-Statesman - - B METRO & STATE - By Mar­tytoohey mtoohey@states­man.com Emails

A former man­ager at the Texas Water Devel­op­ment Board is su­ing the agency, al­leg­ing she was fired for voic­ing sup­port for a lib­eral Austin City Coun­cil can­di­date even as at least a dozen other em­ploy­ees used state com­put­ers to swap con­ser­va­tive and some­times racist mes­sages with­out reper­cus­sions.

The law­suit, filed this week in U.S. District Court, states at least a dozen devel­op­ment board staff mem­bers were reg­u­larly send­ing and re­ceiv­ing emails on their work ac­counts about po­lit­i­cal mat­ters un­re­lated to state water pol­icy. Among 15 pages of emails in­cluded in the law­suit are mes­sages crit­i­cal of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and dis­parag­ing of African-Amer­i­cans.

One email, from Water Devel­op­ment Board em­ployee Mark Mi­chon to fel­low em­ployee Sanjeev Kalaswad, among oth­ers, reads: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Give the man a wel­fare check, a forty ounce malt liquor, a crack pipe and some Air Jor­dans and he votes Demo­crat for a life­time.”

The law­suit states the emails were ob­tained through an open-records re­quest to the Water Devel­op­ment Board for emails sent to and from the agency’s com­put­ers. Agency rules pro­hibit “any po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity on state time or us­ing state re­sources for any po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.”

Water Devel­op­ment Board spokes­woman Merry Klonower said the agency

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