Austin Gilley, former deputy director of the Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission, said Tuesday that he has been fired.
Susan Bussey, the agency's executive director, cited several reasons for Gilley's firing in her three-page dismissal letter.
Among other things, the letter alleges that Gilley responded to an e-mail question from a Grand River Dam Authority employee by sending an inappropriate e-mail response.
Bussey described the response as “a lengthy diatribe filled with rude, unprofessional and insulting remarks about the person asking the question and other employees of the GRDA.”
Gilley said he plans to appeal his dismissal.
In an interview with the News-Record last month, Gilley said he can understand being disciplined for an inappropriate e-mail, but he questions why suddenly he is being forced out of the system.
On June 20, Gilley received a notice of proposed discharge from Bussey in which she stated “This is to inform you of my intention to discharge you from your position as a classified/permanent, Human Resources Manager II. While you are detailed to the deputy director position, you retain your status as a classified employee. Therefore, you are entitled to a pretermination hearing.”
Bussey's notice indicated that the proposed action against Gilley is a direct result of the June 4 e-mail, changing passwords in the commission network and for contacting registrants in an online orientation class that he would not be teaching the orientation due to his suspension. Gilley had been instructed not to contact the registrants, therefore, his actions prompted Bussey to cite insubordination as a basis for discharge.
Gilley said the series of events that led to his release from his state employment began to unfold after he shared a journal of his week-long employment with the Grand River Dam Authority with the director of the merit commission.
“One year ago, I became the Human Resources Director at the Grand River Dam Authority, a state agency - I thought at the time it was the best decision for my family. In one week, I realized it was a corrupt organization, and I returned to my previous workplace,” Gilley wrote on a Web site he launched to chronicle his experience. “I now suddenly find myself ensnared in a mess. Some politically powerful officials are trying to protect themselves at my expense. My story is complicated and this Web site is intended to help others understand it.”
Gilley has posted the timeline of events on www.austingilley.com. The site also includes previews of relative documents, commission rules and information supporting his theories of multi-agency corruption.
“I would like to get my credibility back and see this corruption properly addressed,” Gilley said. “It might cost me in the short term, but in the long run, I believe our system is just. Ultimately, I have nothing to hide.”