Witnesses Say Work Environment Hostile Before Dixon Platt's Arrival - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/25/07

Witnesses Say Work Environment Hostile Before Dixon Platt's Arrival

The second day of witness testimony for the hearings for former city employee, Dixon Platt, wrapped up Wednesday evening.  

Platt is hoping to return to his former position as Chief of Staff.      

Platt was fired back in May, after an internal investigation accused him of racist and sexist comments to and about city staffers and elected officials. 

Wednesday, Platt's attorney set out to prove that there was already a hostile work environment in the council department before Platt's arrival.     

Former Assistant to the City Council, Mike Arismendez, took the stand Wednesday morning.   

Arismendez claims the work environment was a hostile one before Platt started, but also says it did not improve after Platt became Chief of Staff.    

Arismendez says his work performance was often criticized by his co-workers. In April 2005, Arismendez began to take notes about Platt and other employees in the department.

At one point, he says he was confronted by Platt who claimed that he thought an employee's problem with Arismendez was a racial issue. Arismendez says Platt later admitted to excluding Arismendez from meetings.

Yet four other co-workers claimed the opposite on the witness stand Wednesday afternoon. Louis Benedict, Celia Webb, Alyssa Kline and Krysta Jones Reed all felt Arismendez was lazy and incompetent in his job performance. They all agree that Platt was patient and fair in dealing with Arismendez in regards to his job performance.     

Another issue that came up were the sexual harassment accusations made against Platt. One suggested that Platt had called a woman's uterus - a "homing device." Wednesday, witnesses testified that a female employee was actually the one to make that comment, not Platt.

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