HR director tried to throw Bergosh under the bus

Commissioner Jeff Bergosh says a series of emails between former HR director and a claims specialist were done to cover the director’s mismanagement of a former employee’s harassment claim that resulted in a $200,000 settlement. The county attorney called the communications ” just weird.”

The emails were dated June 28-June 30, nearly two weeks after the commissioners approved the settlement and before HR director Jana Still was fired by Interim County Administrator Wes Moreno on July 7. Read 20210803_Mark D. Bartlett_001

“She was trying to cover herself,” Commissioner Bergosh told Inweekly. “She knew the walls were closing in. She totally mishandled the Selover case.”

He explained, “If you watch that (email) string, Still obviously had a phone conversation with Dan Loych (of Glatfelter Claims Management) and then she follows it up with an email. And then when he emails back saying, ‘Yeah, summarizing our call, Jeff Bergosh ‘tanked the defense’ and you’re wonderful. Then she replied back to him and copied a bunch of people that were in Janice’s (former County Administrator Janice Gilley) stable.”

The email string starts with Loych referring to a phone call, as Bergosh said. The claim specialist asserted, “The primary reason we ended up paying so much in the Selover case was due to Commissioner Bergosh’s testimony against the county.”

He later added, “Bergosh made statements that he was really not qualified to make and tanked the defense that we had been working to put forward and damaged our ability to file a motion for summary judgment.”

Bergosh told Inweekly that he spoke the truth in his deposition. “I was subpoenaed and gave testimony under oath in a deposition. I’m not lying for anyone. I’m certainly not going to lie for the screw ups of Jerry Maygarden, Janice Gilley and Jana Still.”

Former State Rep. Jerry Maygarden was hired in 2009 by Gilley to fix issues in public safety, EMS and fire department. Bergosh is convinced that Selover was wronged by the county, and the county didn’t follow its procedures. “Matt’s (Selover) name is just about to be totally vindicated that’s the next step in this process.”

Selover Case

On June 17, the Escambia County Commission voted 4-1 to approve a settlement agreement with former county paramedic Matt Selover for $200,000 over a federal harassment lawsuit.

Matt Selover filed his harassment complaint with the county May 1, 2019, and Dr. Rayme Edler, the county’s medical director, filed her complaint against Selover with the Florida Department of Health on May 16, 2019.

The paramedic alleged the county violated his 14th Amendment rights and retaliated against him when he was placed on desk duty and failed to follow its own policies for not investigating a harassment complaint.

The medical director’ s complaint against Selover with the Florida Department of Health was supposed to be confidential, but Edler got around it by putting her allegations in a memo to county leadership that became a public record.

Edler detailed five separate incidents from July 2018 to March 2019, claiming Selover violated Florida law dealing with patient care. She blamed the paramedic’s actions for two deaths.

In June 2021, the FDOH found probable cause and filed over seven counts where Selover allegedly violated Florida law in standards of care. The next step is for the complaint to be heard by an administrative law judge at the Department of Administrative Hearings.

Summary Judgment Not Possible

“I think that it was a little bit unusual to have the HR director communicating directly late at night with the insurance adjuster about our cases,” said County Attorney Alison Rogers. “Without the attorneys even in the loop, it’s just weird.”

According to Rogers, former County Administrator Janice Gilley and her HR director had been “cheering “for a summary judgment. She believes Gilley instructed Still and the county’s risk manager not to settle with Selover.

“Janice was always looking for a summary judgment, but our insurance counsel felt like it wasn’t there,” said Rogers. “There were factual disputes that would survive summary judgment and we would therefore be denied. And once you were denied summary judgment, we would have no hammer left to negotiate a lower settlement amount.”

She added, “You can read the transcripts of the shade meetings and see that was what was recommended. They didn’t believe a summary judgment was likely.”

According to the transcripts, Selover’s attorney originally wanted $600,000 to settle the case. The final amount was $200,000.


8 thoughts on “HR director tried to throw Bergosh under the bus

  1. Hattie B–yes, Edler was sexting her gemini emoticons with “I want to make you flush” Jimmie Maddrey, whom she then championed as the Interim cum permanent EMS Chief along with Janice Gilley and Robert Bender’s consent and orchestration. According to multiple people present, Edler physically hung on his arm at the front of the room when they announced his promotion and professed she would trust him with anything.

    For nearly a year and a half I stayed mum on the specifics of all the the fraternization among EMS “leadership,” up and down the chain of command, and interdepartmentally–a Public Safety version of a key party that was constantly expanding as new “leadership” was added to the Public Safety mix. (Recall a couple of rather abrupt, unexpected departures from the County that happened once I was forced to start getting down to brass tacks about it at the podium.)

    Out of respect for their families, I did not want to have to get down into the nitty gritty of all that, at all, and probably waited far longer than I should have to just start laying it down. Because one half of County leadership was being convinced I was nuts by the other half who was actively covering it up. And the portion who knew I was telling the truth apparently thought I was just talking smack about having evidence of it, because surely they didn’t mistake my determination in getting all of this exposed.

    So I finally turned over Edler and Maddrey’s sexting during the Selover case. I can’t wait to see whether they were asked about what exactly their relationship was during the Selover suit depositions, and what each of them answered under oath. Moreover, I can’t wait to see what ALL the first-rate fabricators who were deposed in that case had to say for themselves. That would include any possible questions about it to Jana Still, who, to the best of my knowledge, also reportedly had liaisons with Jimmie Maddrey–in the Public Safety building, no less–unless the common understanding of that liaison among Public Safety and much of County staff is incorrect. The general knowledge that circulated about that was that another female staff member, who had been elevated from the road to a desk job to ease her marital tensions (after being caught out in a separate relation with Maddrey, not the only time this “fix” has been applied) walked in on them in Maddrey’s office to confront him.

    This is a separate condition from the numerous subordinates who felt pressured to have sexual relations with their supervisors in EMS, some of whom justifiably consider themselves to be victims of sexual abuse as a result.

    After whatever gave rise to the sexting between Edler and Maddrey was finished, she was soon known to be dating a deputy medic for ECSO who would have also been “functioning under her license” when he was part-timing as a medic for the County. When I turned all of this knowledge over to Janice Gilley, she said to me, and I quote, “I can’t control who has sex with whom.” At that time, I advised Ms. Gilley to read the County’s ethics policies. As I understand it, Edler got out of that one by claiming he wasn’t really “under her” because they have told her she couldn’t discipline Matt Selover. (See what she did there?) She then formed an LLC with that medic on a very similar model to the Orlando company she was trying to sole source for the past fire chief, and, as I understand it, they shopped their emergent services–without her registering this with the County, contrary to policy–to at least one other County agency.

    This is why Doug and Jacqueline’s braying about Jana Still potentially suing the County for *anything* is such a ridiculous notion. She knows what would surface in that discovery. (Personally, I would love seeing a past director of the County get called back for testimony about joy riding a bus up to the firing range with no license to spin circles and make the lights go woo woo.) Edler is quite a different animal–she lives in the courtroom. Therefore she recognized when we had it lined up to demonstrate that she had very possibly perjured herself in our suit, and were going to be able to demonstrate that she was prescribing to staff and took her daughter to the scene of a potential plane crash, and so conveniently dropped the case just before depositions started.

    While this all may be a rip snorter in some regards, IT IS NOT AMUSING THAT INNOCENT PEOPLE WERE SET UP AS SCAPEGOATS FOR THIS AND OTHER ACTIVITY. And even *more* serious than all the fraternizations is the dangerous sub-standard of care coming from some of Edler’s “army” out in the field, which resulted in a stack of QAs that she then refused to process.

    David Prague has been hitting the nail on the head with this situation from the get-go, clear back to the beginning. Thank you, David, for letting the rest of us know yesterday that Edler filed another complaint against the County once she “took leave” (if that’s what really happened…some of us are a bit skeptical of Jacqueline’s “verification” of this).

    If any of her bogus DOH administrative complaints ever do make it to a hearing, the poor administrative judges there are going to have to deal with a whole new round of nonsense generated from Doug Underhill, Jacqueline Rogers, and the ECW fight club. It was bad enough when it was just harassing people monetarily in DOAH hearings. This time, they have engineered an absolute travesty of our courts that ought to be thoroughly investigated by FDLE and the SAO, who should be very concerned that they were misled and lied to by County officials in such a public and tragic fashion.

  2. This whole thing was so unnecessary. You can search and find a couple of paramedics had a 7 day leave without pay for a claim from the public in Houston. Now this MD comes in turning employees in Escambia to the DOH, having them arrested? Have you looked at the charges? Ridiculous. Perhaps one passed a fake CE card. Not good of course. The county did pay a fine. Underhill on ECW used the MD politically to try to shut down a citizen via the courts and hasn’t stopped yet. Good riddance to her and Underhill and his all the ilk on Escambia Citizens Watch Facebook Good ole Boys. Unnecessary drama and expense.

  3. David Why would Underhill post publcly on his Facebook page that he was with Rayme Edler at the Florabama then deny it when you mentioned it on Escambia Citizens Watch? You got the screenshots Rick? Go look.

  4. Rayme Edler has got to GO. She’s cost this county over a million dollars at this point.
    * the county had to pay Selover $200k after she retaliated against him for his harassment complaint
    * the county is currently paying her some type of paid leave while having to contract with the University of Florida to actually do the medical director’s job (I thought the people in this county didn’t believe in paying people not to work).
    * she is suing the county for an undisclosed amount of money
    * she has filed complaints against the county that never went anywhere but which the county had to pay lawyers to deal with
    * she has cost the county God-only-knows how many good employees because no one wants to work for, with or anywhere near her.

  5. Apparently Alison wasn’t aware that late-night first-name basis was something of Ms. Still’s communicative specialty.

    She had discussed the remaining points “numerous times, at length” with “Dan.” I’ll bet.

    Member a couple years back when I started bringing a whole bunch of “crazy” stuff to the podium? Yeppers. And it’s all fun and games until innocent people start getting arrested to cover for other people’s administrative sins.

  6. Well, the HR Director was one of only eight people who reported directly to the County Administrator. If your boss who can fire you for any or no reason tells you what to do and how to do it, you have two choices: 1) do it; or 2) quit. Years ago, I politely suggested to the BOCC that they are a big part of the problem because they play a very passive role in the appointment of key county staff and, as far as I can tell, no role in their termination. I suggested that the BOCC should exercise the power to terminate any person it hired itself (two) or consented to be appointed (a lot). I also think that the BOCC should have to approve the termination of anyone it has consented to appoint. Imagine a scenario if a senior county staffer wants to tell the BOCC something they need to hear but the County Administrator wants it covered up. This is what happens and why the BOCC gets ambushed so often and so badly the last to find out about something bad. So how might things have gone differently, aside from the part about the BOCC hiring a County Administrator who had never before been in charge of a county, city, town, village, department or non-profit? Well, if it took its job seriously, it might have spent more than 17 seconds giving its consent to the hiring of Jana Still. Up until 2012, she was a bank teller. She might have been a very good one. Suddenly in 2019, the BOCC is told that she is the best person in the nation to be the county’s HR Director. Didn’t buy it then or now. The BOCC meekly consented to Still’s hiring during a meeting on October 22, 2019. The total duration of the agenda item was 17 seconds to “include” the simultaneous hiring of another county staffer two levels lower on the totem pole and in another department. The BOCC was not provided Still’s resume. She might have been good at prior jobs but there was no evidence in the pile of stuff I dug up on her that she was ready to excel or even survive as a county HR Director. That’s a tough job and involves office politics too.
    During the agenda item, Still did not speak if only to say, “Howdy.” County Administrator Janice Gilley said nothing in support of her recommendation to hire Still. Had the BOCC wanted to know something about Still before voting to hire her, they might have asked for a copy of her application and resume and noticed that she attended UWF at the same time that Gilley was a VP there. Still had two short-term jobs at UWF and was in a UWF club. My gut-check would have been that Gilley was recommending the person she knew best not the person best qualified for the job. Bottom line, for each of these SNAFUs, the problem traces back to the BOCC and a lack of leadership by one so-called weak Chairman after another. On April 17, 2019, Commissioner Bergosh exclaimed, “There’s a leadership vacuum in this county.” Yes, there is. He thinks the problem is county staff. It’s the BOCC.

  7. I predict a lot of people are about to get sued that participated in ruining Matt Selover’s reputation.

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