Fired for Not Using Vacation - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Fired for Not Using Vacation

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A long-time Buffalo County employee is speaking out after what some are calling a questionable termination. Former Weed Superintendent Dick Kincaid was fired at a meeting Tuesday morning because he did not use his vacation time, and that's reportedly the only reason he was fired.

Kincaid says he couldn't use because the weed department is understaffed.

Officials willing to speak on the story are still scratching their heads on how not using vacation time could warrant the firing of an employee that's been with the county more than thirty years.

When he got his job nearly 32 years ago, Dick Kincaid says the supervisor who hired him gave him two rules. "He said never lie to him and remember who I worked for," said Kincaid. "Which wasn't the board; it was the public's interest."

At Tuesday's meeting, he was fired for accumulating vacation time. Supervisor Tim Loewenstein moved to terminate Kincaid and another supervisor seconded the motion. "In 60 seconds I became unemployed," Kincaid said.

Loewenstein says the Buffalo County Attorney won't allow him to comment on the situation. But in January he'll be replaced by Joe Brayton, who says he's puzzled by the outcome and feels this wouldn't have happened in the upcoming year during his time as county supervisor. Brayton says they'd been trying to negotiate a plan for the vacation time since 2008.

"They wanted him to work just one day a week, and he had proposed that maybe he'd take all the afternoons off to use up all his vacation time," explained Brayton, who will be sworn in January 66th. "So I was assuming that they were going to talk about what they had decided to do with Dick, and they must have talked about it because they decided to release him."

"I thought that was pretty harsh," he added.

"He didn't follow their policy," said Ivan Klein, Chair of the Board's Weed Committee. "The policy book that we had, stated that, you're supposed to get your vacation time in-line, but I guess I felt he didn't have enough time to do that."

Klein was the only one of six people to vote against terminating Kincaid, who reportedly didn't have enough staff. Kincaid says he had to train a new staff member to do his work before he was able to take time off. Kincaid may end being paid off this vacation time now that he's not employed.

"For a group that never wanted to pay for these banked vacation days, now all the sudden they're willing to pay? That doesn't make sense," said Kincaid.

Buffalo County Attorney Shawn Eatherton did not return NTV's call to find out what's keeping
the current supervisor from being able to comment. NTV was told that the weed department does indeed work all months of the year, "doing a lot more than just spraying weeds."

Kincaid had accumulated more than 600 vacation hours.

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