Glenn Jackson was director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s drivers license division until he resigned last week. He’d been on leave since February pending an investigation into accusations that he, among other things, was showing favoritism to young, female employees.
As you can see from the full investigation report into those accusations (below), they were largely substantiated. Multiple employees interviewed said Jackson gave too much attention to certain employees, with some suggesting the motivation was their age and looks, though Jackson disputes this.
Even one of the recipients of Jackson’s special treatment, a woman he gave a 5 percent raise to, said she was surprised by it. She got her raise, supposedly justified by new duties, on a much faster timeline than she expected. She had thought it wouldn’t come until after she completed a college degree she was working on.
Jackson also, at one point, allowed this employee to stay home without taking leave time. In texts (see to the right) he told her that as long as she could stay in touch via text message and phone she could consider herself “working from home.”
This same employee, Kayla Lemieux, said Jackson made her feel uncomfortable on multiple occasions. She told investigators that Jackson said she reminded him of a character from a romance novel he wrote (he’s apparently an author with several self-published titles under his belt). She also said Jackson would make comments about her clothes, and even made a smirking reference to “alone time” she would have with her husband at a conference.
Another employee says Jackson referred to his looks, and made an hourglass motion with his hands, following a performance appraisal meeting.
There are plenty of other anecdotes documented in the report, but what it comes down to was Jackson giving special treatment to certain employees, with many believing the motivation for that treatment being the gender and physical appearance of those employees.
Jackson, of course, denies this.
Which marks the second time this year that a state official has found himself in hot water over alleged special treatment. Back in February I was the first to report on an unusual employment situation University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy had created for a young female subordinate. In addition to getting a $30,000 per year raise, this employee was also going to be allowed to work from Texas with a $25,000 per year annual travel budget to commute to Grand Forks.
Kennedy ultimately ended the arrangement after my report inspired wide spread criticism. Later he described that controversy to the media as being born of sexism and racism. He is currently in the process of leaving UND for a job as the president of the University of Colorado.
UPDATE: For those wondering what Jackson’s outgoing pay situation looks like, there’s this from DOT spokesperson Jamie Olson:
Mr. Jackson’s salary was $95,940/yr. His last day of employment was May 3, 2019 and per the Department’s Policy, when an employee separates employment with the NDDOT, the employee’s basic life insurance and health insurance premiums will be paid by the Department one month beyond the month of last employment.
Here’s the full investigation report on Jackson. You can read the attachments to the report here.
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