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A 31-year veteran of the Missouri Division of Employment Security who was fired by former Labor Department Director Larry Rebman has filed a formal complaint with the state. The sacked department veteran, Cindy Guthrie, and her attorney, Roger Brown of Jefferson City, allege Rebman overstepped his authority because she is a merit system employee. As Columbia Daily Tribune statehouse bulldog Rudi Keller reported Sunday, both Guthrie and Brown say Rebman “>fired Guthrie without cause and did so as part of a pattern of micromanaging and retaliation when workers would not accept orders that contradicted state laws or policies.” If that didn’t set off alarm bells, this does: Keller reports that Division of Employment Security Director Gracia Backerwas recently fired by Governor Jay Nixon’s administration after she stood up for Guthrie and other employees targeted by Rebman. The attorney, Brown, told Keller: “My gut is that Gracia did nothing wrong … She got caught up in a mess, and there is nothing I have seen that is even remotely close to Gracia doing something wrong.” Guthrie, the fired veteran employee who stood up to Rebman, told Keller that Backer “was defending all the merit people who were doing things right.” Backer is a woman of political accomplishment in state history. During her career as a state representative from Callaway County spanning 1983 to 2001, she was the first woman to serve as House Democratic Leader. She also directed the Division of Employment Security under Governor Bob Holden. While Backer got the boot after blowing the whistle, Rebman recently landed a $100,000 appointment from Nixon as an administrative law judge in Kansas City. Keller notes that in a mid-March news release that didn’t mention Backer’s departure, Nixon praised Rebman, saying he “has done a tremendous job.” Rebman declined Keller’s request for an interview. But when Keller caught up to Nixon on Thursday, he asked the guv whether there were any issues that prompted Rebman’s removal. Nixon replied: “Nah. Nope. Nope.” Keep up with Keller’s coverage here:


  • Betty says:

    For a man who wants to run for President in 2016 Jay Nixon does not seem to be worried about the female vote. He gave a 100 thousand dollars a year job to reward the white male who harassed women. And, he fired the woman who was standing up for the victims of harassing. I would say that if Hillary is the presidential candidate of the Dems she will not look kindly on Nixon’s actions failing to protect the female victims in this case. Nixon will not be able to even carry Hillarys suitcase.

  • Betty says:

    If you keep digging, you will get MORE of this story. There is SO much more!!! Believe me……..Mr. Berger…keep digging. Oh the stories that could be told…..

  • inquiry says:

    Bergermeister, can you find out who was the highest ranking person Gracia Backer blew her whistle to in Nixon’s office? That person needs to be fired along with the bully Rebman. Thank you.

  • Anonymous says:

    There is so much more to tell. The rank and file in that office are hard working individuals who take their job very seriously. These individuals are tasked with administering Employment Security law as it pertains to claimants and employers. However, administration placed there by present and past governors do not know Employment Security law and expect staff to do what administration says not what law dictates. Gracia Backer understood the need to listen to the “old timers” concerning what could and couldn’t happen. Rebman did not!!! Does there need to be change to Employment Security practices, policies and procedures – of course, what place of business doesn’t need changes somewhere – but most of the changes there relate to needing an upgraded computer system AND an administration that understands Employment Security law and the need to stay compliant with Federal guidelines.

  • Old Lobbyist says:

    I have now read this item several times to discern what is really going on. I keep coming back to this line – “a pattern of micromanaging and retaliation when workers would not accept orders that contradicted state laws or policies.
    Contradicted state laws?
    To be contrary to state law is to break state law. What the h*ll was going on over there?
    There is federal funding in this department. Surely Nixon will realize the FBI and various federal Inspectors General will take an immediate interest in these shenaningans especially if Backer was a whistleblower and she was punished rather than heeded.

  • Anonymous says:

    Mr. Berger, I think you are letting your personal relationship with Gracia cloud your judgement on this issue.

  • Cassie says:

    There was so much going on at this Department – Gracia backed her people because they were right and that’s why she was let go. Director Rebman created a Communications Unit and let the little blonde and her staff she hired come in and start making changes; changes that weren’t legal and trying to go around the Sunshine Law. When staff refused to do this, everyone paid the price. This department is spending a LOT of money promoting other departments, just look at their Facebook page. There are people that have been there for years and years and know the unemployment laws yet Rebman turned everything over to the Communications Unit and let them run the show. Moral is at an all time low. Hopefully with Rebman gone things will change but that is yet to be seen.

  • Anonymous says:

    So much more to discover …… All the divisions within the department were subject to the bullying and lack of respect shown from Rebman. . Maybe one should look into to salary structure of the communications department and the the level of pay raises that we’re give over the past 3 years. What that man did single handed will take years to get back.
    Rebman should not be rewarded by a 100k job. He should be fired.

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