UNR employees complain about hearing officer
Personnel Director Todd Rich is investigating a series of charges levied Friday against state hearing officer Bill Kockenmeister.
Terri Patraw, who is fighting to keep her job as UNR women’s soccer coach, told the Personnel Commission at its quarterly meeting Friday she believes Kockenmeister was unethical and unprofessional, allowed perjury during her hearing and used false testimony in his decision.
“And there was no mention in the 57-page document of the witness tampering that occurred during the hearing by high ranking athletic department officials,” she stated.
Patraw also charged Kockenmeister had claimed there was no evidence she reported sexual harassment. She said the university’s own witness testified she did make such a report.
She followed UNR police officer Lane Grow, who objected to Kockenmeister’s handling of the personnel hearing that resulted in the reinstatement of Kevin Youngflesh at UNR. Specifically, he objected that Kockenmeister closed the hearing for part of the time.
Rich said the commission decided not to assign any new cases to Kockenmeister until the issue is investigated and resolved. He said that unfortunately, neither he nor the commission had a clear idea what the testimony was going to be. He said they were only told people wanted to make statements to the commission the day before Friday’s hearing.
“We weren’t expecting anything like this,” he said.
Further compounding the issue is that Kockenmeister wasn’t at the meeting and, therefore, couldn’t defend himself. He said the Department of Personnel has not received any written concerns or complaints about Kockenmeister other than Friday’s verbal testimony.
Rich said he will investigate the charges and prepare a report for the commission’s June meeting.
“We’re going to go back and view this,” he said. “We have all the tapes from the hearings.”
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.