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Turnbull Places Problem Employee on Paid Administrative Leave

Sept. 6, 2006 — In apparent response to blistering reports from his superiors in the Education Department, Horace M. Brooks was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 17 by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull.
Education officials reported that Brooks not only repeatedly failed to report for work assignments, but made public scenes and threatened department officials who reprimanded him (See "Politically Tied Employee Creating Headaches for Education Officials").
In the Aug. 17 letter from Turnbull, Brooks was directed to turn in his government keys, equipment and vehicle. However, the governor did not fire Brooks; he is still on paid leave, receiving his approximate $50,000 annual salary.
In a letter dated Aug. 22, Turnbull told Brooks that his leave was being extended "until further notice." From copies of correspondence obtained by the Source, Turnbull told Brooks, "In the near future, you will be informed as to the date, time and place where you should report to work."
Turnbull spokesman James O 'Bryan confirmed this week that Brooks is still on leave. However, O 'Bryan said, "It is not for any long duration."
Brooks was quietly hired as the Education Department's assistant director of plant operations and maintenance at the start of Turnbull's second term.
It is not known where Turnbull plans to place Brooks. There has been speculation that the governor might try to transfer him to the Department of Public Works. DPW Commissioner George Phillips said this week that was news to him. "I don't have an employee by that name on my payroll," Phillips said. "He has made no application to Public Works for a job. He is entitled to apply if he wants to, just like any other member of the public." He concluded, "I can't make a decision unless there is a response before me."
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