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They said it wasn’t discrimination Austin This is sort of a sad story but not, really, a very important story compared to murder-sex-and-perversion or corruption in High Places. It’s just a story about the way things are at this point in time. Sisu Morris works for the Parks and Recreation Department of Corpus Christi as the recreation facilities supervisor. In December, 1971, Morris’ immediate supervisor Lynn Young, assistant superintendent of recreation, resigned and Bill Witt, the superintendent, urged Morris to apply for the post. She did so, but lost out to one Richard Rockenbaugh, who was hired in January, 1972. Shortly thereafter, Witt told Morris she had been the second choice for the job but that it had gone to in physical education from the University of Dallas [Morris has some college credits man. Rockenbaugh’s further credentials included certification as a parks administrator by the Texas Recreation and Parks Society. Such certification requires either a college degree or 10 year’s experience. Rockenbaugh had three years experience in the rec biz. Morris made no complaint at the time, but a few months later one of her colleagues, who considered Rockenbaugh’s performance as assistant superintendent singularly unimpressive, called the University of Dallas to check on his degree. He doesn’t have one. The colleague told Morris. Morris told her friend Patti Witt Atwill. Atwill told her father Bill Witt. According to Atwill, her father told her he already knew Rockenbaugh had no degree and boasted to her that he and Bob Modlin, an assistant director, had both known Rockenbaugh had no degree but had decided that they needed a man for the job. Next thing you know, Witt called Morris into his office and demanded to know who had made the call to Dallas to check on Rockenbaugh’s degree. The effort to pump her went on for three days, during which she was threatened with demotion. She was thereafter subjected to various forms of harassment by Witt, Rockenbaugh and others in the department, most of it petty. People in the department refused to speak to her, the receptionist kept hanging up on her, she was left out of staff meetings and some charmer put three dead birds in her car. She got a lawyer and filed a complaint against Rockenbaugh with the City Civil Service Board. The three points in her complaint were Rockenbaugh’s having lied about his qualifications, discrimination based on sex and harassment. Then some passing strange things started to occur. Atwill made a talk to the Friday Morning Group, which is Corpus’ version of Dallas’ Citizens Charter Assn. or San Antonio’s GGL it’s the local establishment and very male. After Atwill told her story about her father’s cover up of Roc,kenbaugh’s lack of qualifications she was asked, “Are you doing this to be vindictive to your father?” “What’s your beef?” and “What are you complaining about?” On the resume which Rockenbaugh had used to apply for the job, he stated that he had a degree in health and physical education. In April, Archie Walker, assistant city manager, told Atwill by phone that Rockenbaugh’s formal application to the city bore the same claim. But during the hearing before the Civil Service Board, Walker denied ever having told Atwill any such thing and the Rockenbaugh application presented at the hearing does not now show such a claim. During the hearing Witt swore that he had been aware all along that Rockenbaugh had no degree: however, he had introduced Rockenbaugh to the Parks Department staff as having a degree and the degree was listed on the publicity that accompanied Rockenbaugh’s appointment. Rockenbaugh himself offered some interesting ‘testimony. It turned out that his major at Dallas had been history, not health and p.e. Rockenbaugh said he thought “major” meant what you wanted to do when you got out of school, not what you studied while you were there. He further said that his resume was badly worded, not up-to-date and, in fact, incorrect. As to his application for certification from the Parks and Recreation Society, Rockenbaugh said he had listed a college degree because he planned to complete the requirements for same. \(On the TRAPS application, Rockenbaugh has Rockenbaugh said the “terminology was wrong” on his application. On July 31, the Civil Service Board dismissed Morris’ complaint on a 2-1 vote. In the majority were Henry Nuss, who happens to be Witt’s personal attorney, and William Bonilla, who announced he was prepared to begin deliberations within an hour after the start of the hearing, with key witnesses yet to be heard from. The dissenter on the board was Jim Wilburn, who held that there had been sex discrimination in the case and that Rockenbaugh should be fired for having fraudulently and dishonestly represented his qualifications. Interestingly enough s when Witt hired Rockenbaugh for the position of assistant superintendent knowing, Witt said, that Rockenbaugh did not have a college degree, he ‘agreed to pay him $818 ‘a month. Lynn Young, Rockenbaugh’s predecessor, who had both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, was paid $780 a month by the city for the same job. The city paid for Rockenbaugh’s attorney at the hearing; Morris had to pay her attorney herself. Morris finds the working conditions at the city department intolerable now despite the Board’s having enjoined the division from “harassment or other unfair treatment of any other , employee in that division.” She plans to quit very soon. Poem for My Mother A vehemence of moon rages through the forest, is a silver burning abov’e the sea on the darkest nights of the heart. Old women toss on their beds, raw rememberings turning their nerves yearning women who touch thernselves or lovers in a tingling of dreams. War wraps its mist on old men’s minds; friends fall out of time’s blackness, and gesturing silently, slip back in. But the young, the young, ah, are a silver burning above the sea. J. BULLIS Beaumont August 24, 1973 11 Bound Volumes of the Observer Bound volumes of the 1972 issues of the Texas Observer are now ready. In maroon washable binding the same as in recent years the price is $12. Also available at $12 each year are volumes for the years 1963 through 1971. A very limited supply of bound volumes of the Observer for the years 1958 through 1962 formerly out ofstock have been compiled and are offered at’ $50 per year. These are the years when the Observer was weekly and in a tabloid format. Texas residents please add the 5% sales tax to your remittance. Volumes will be sent postpaid. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W 7 AUSTIN 78701