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Employees allege 'hostile work environment' in county auditor's office

Posted at 5:45 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 20:56:50-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County Auditor Dale Atchley is under investigation by the county’s council of judges.

The district court judges ordered that investigation after allegations of a hostile work environment inside the county auditor's office were reported.

Atchley confirmed that investigation to KRIS 6 News on Wednesday.

Several Nueces County Courthouse sources told KRIS 6 News about the allegations against Atchley. Among them, claims that Atchley showed favoritism toward some employees — claims he doesn't necessarily dispute.

Atchley, however, said the only favoritism he showed was allowing employees enrolled in college courses time off to work on their classwork.

“There were a few people in my office currently in university," he said. "I let them take some time off that they needed.”

Atchley believes claims of a hostile work environment in his office stem from an Oct. 3 memo he sent to employees in his department.

“I issued a very hard memo, saying 'here's the documentation of how the office should run,' ” he said.


In the tersely worded document which Athcley titled ‘A New Beginning,’ he voiced his displeasure with employee behavior; specifically, unexcused absences and chronic lateness.

“People were not showing up on time," he said. "Taking time off without approval, or taking more total than what they should have.”

The memo also outlines new policies, including no closed-door meetings with Atchley. It also said that Atchley wanted to treat his employees "fairly and equally. No longer with any favoritism."

As many as four auditor's office employees have filed complaints. KRIS 6 News has obtained emails which show a combative tone from Atchley. Sources also allege that Atchley's wife sent employees harassing emails; claims Atchley denies.

“She was trying to call me because of a dental appointment she has or some other medical issues she has,” Atchley said. “She's called a few different people in my office to do that, that's the only time it's been there.”

As for the investigation, Atchley said he's met with the county's human resources director, and the council of judges are reviewing the case.