GARLAND – By Cari Doutre, Headliner Publisher, August 16, 2022
A recent surge in resignations from employees working for Garland City has residents questioning why and looking to city leaders for answers. Since February 2022, Garland City has seen the resignations of its Public Works director, Public Works manager, library director, two librarians, one police officer and one Public Works employee.
In resignation letters obtained by BRVNEWS.com and used with permission, those employees cited issues regarding current city leadership as their reason for leaving Garland City, particularly from Mayor Linda Bourne.
During the August 3, Garland City Council meeting, this issue was brought up during the public comments portion of the meeting after the Garland Public Library was temporarily closed following the resignation of three library employees.
Starting the public comments portion of the meeting, a letter was read on behalf of former librarians Kelli Stanger Westergard and Mercedes Stacey after their July resignations from the Garland Public Library.
“Us walking is a direct correlation to the toxic atmosphere Linda has chosen to create and the citizens of Garland are the ones paying the price,” the letter stated.
The letter also included their feelings after recent employee evaluations were conducted by Bourne and a member of the city council.
“Neither of these two ladies know who we are or what we do. They had already decided what we were even worth, disregarding any input from the man who works with us on a daily basis. We were told that instead of paying us any more they would take responsibilities away from us and redistribute them to make it ‘fair.’ Our evaluations were also a ploy to get us to disrespect Tate and our coworkers,” the letter states.
“This process made us feel belittled, disrespected and mocked,” it added.
A copy of this letter obtained by BRVNEWS.com with permission to post in full, can be found below.
Heather Erickson, a Garland City resident who moved to the city from Virginia three years ago, stated during the public comment period her concerns over the library’s recent developments and why she’s so passionate about keeping the library open and keeping those resources available to the community.
“Moving here is a lonely experience. When you don’t know anybody and you haven’t known anybody and you need to make friends and you need to make connections and I have done that at the Garland library,” Erickson told the council.
“I just want to understand what’s going on with the library because I’m so confused,” Erickson said.
Bourne and the rest of the Garland City Council did not comment or answer Erickson’s questions that night.
“If you have any questions about anything, we are transparent. So, if you have any questions, we definitely can answer it but it would be in more of an office setting than an open comment setting,” Bourne said after public comments.
In July, Tate Atkin resigned from his position as Library Director at the Garland Public Library. In his resignation letter (obtained by BRVNEWS.com and used with permission) dated July 15, and addressed to Bourne, it states several reasons why he left the library.
“I enjoyed working at the library but can no longer work in such a toxic environment that you created, where I am continually undermined in my ability to do an excellent job, and where your stubbornness hinders the growth of the employees and the library, which is what the city of Garland deserves,” stated Atkin in his resignation letter.
Atkin added he “had all essential functions of the managerial authority taken,” from him by Bourne including the ability to “hire, discipline, or fire employees and that you would make the decision in all matters regarding personnel, including distribution of staff duties.”
“It is because of these actions and the complete lack of trust or respect you have shown me in this position in just six short months that it pains me to say that I resign effective immediately,” Atkin’s resignation letter concludes.
A copy of Atkin’s resignation letter in full can be found in full below.
The Garland Public Library isn’t the only department at Garland City currently experiencing a surge of resignations from employees.
The Public Works Department first saw the resignation of their Public Works Director Matt Cutler in February 2022. In his resignation letter obtained by BRVNEWS.com and used with permission, Cutler states allegations of fraud and the threat of criminal charges brought against him by Bourne, starting in 2018, continued after she was sworn in as Garland City Mayor in January 2022.
“I can no longer stay in my current position knowing that the mayor actively pursued ill will against me and my family. Daily I wake up and find myself sick from the thought that someone is willingly making false accusations to see my livelihood taken from me and to see criminal charges brought against me. I still feel that there is an active effort going forth to find any reason possible to dismiss myself and the other employees at Garland City. This feeling comes from the interpretation the mayor gives on how our jobs should be done. I can no longer trust that the mayor has my best interest in mind,” Cutler’s resignation letter states.
A copy of Matt Cutler’s resignation letter posted in full can be found below.
Garland City has yet to hire a new Public Works Director, six months after Cutler’s resignation.
Most recently Garland City saw the resignation of Charles Bingham, the city’s Public Work’s manager.
Bingham states Bourne was his reason for leaving Garland City. “A mayor that micromanages, has a lack of trust in employees, and that is so controlling about issues she has absolutely no idea of what is going on,” Bingham wrote in his August 12, resignation letter obtained by BRVNEWS.com and used with permission.
Bingham added his own concerns for the city’s new multi-million-dollar wastewater treatment plant, which just recently began operation.
“The new plant is one of a kind in Utah, no one else has this process. With that being said, the city will have to retrain all the components of the sewer plant by the vendors that have trained me. If she (Bourne) decides not to do this, it will void the warranties on all the machinery which will be devastating to the city,” Bingham stated.
A copy of Charles Bingham’s resignation letter posted in full can be found below.
Bourne declined to comment on this story.