San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas


by SEAN BATURA

Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler has been sued by a former employee who claims he was demoted and pressured to resign in retaliation for political associations and free speech.

Richard “Dickey” Haverda, in a suit filed Sept. 8 in federal court, said he maintained a “long-time personal relationship” with former Sheriff Tommy Ratliff, who lost the election to Cutler in November 2010.

Cutler said he believes he will prevail in the lawsuit.

“There’s no merit to it,” he said. “It’s been referred to our attorney here at the county.”

Cutler declined to comment further, which is customary for an elected official who has been sued.

Haverda, who worked in the jail division, said he campaigned for Ratliff. A month before the election, he also wrote a letter to the editor that defended Ratliff against accusations regarding jail maintenance issues. The jail had failed multiple inspections by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, which ordered a shutdown of the jail’s kitchen in November 2009.

The jail came back into compliance with state law in June 2010. The commissioners court spent $1.7 million for repairs to the jail roof and kitchen repairs, as well as related studies between July 2009 and June 2011.


Haverda, in his original complaint, said Cutler and the chief deputy made him a scapegoat for all the problems with the jail. Haverda, who was second-in-command of detention operations during the day shift at the jail, said his job was posted on the county’s website as being available less than seven days after Cutler took office last Nov. 15.

Haverda said he was demoted twice under Cutler despite having “consistently received outstanding performance evaluations” over the course of his 22-year career at the sheriff’s office.

Though Haverda retired this past April, he maintains his departure amounted to a “constructive discharge,” meaning he claims the circumstances of his working conditions and retirement were such that he might as well have been fired. He seeks back pay, the opportunity to get his old job back or receive “front pay” and other compensation for damages.

In the lawsuit, Haverda said he was demoted from captain to lieutenant in January. He said he was demoted again on Feb. 23 to the position of corrections officer, resulting in a significant decrease in salary,
status and responsibilities.

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16 thoughts on “Sheriff, Hays County sued by former jail employee

  1. Oh Yes isn’t that the way it is at the NEW HAYS COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE.Lets see who we can use as an escape goat…I have worked for Hays County on and off since 1998 and of all those years I have been in contact with Mr. Haverda and not only does he make sure his jobs are done,he always makes sure the ones that works for him,jobs are done…
    I have always loved my job at Hays County. Only due to the New Chief..and I want even say Sheriff because he is not even in the picture..I left a job that I loved and was Great at and have so many evaluations to prove that…When you bring people into the county that should not be there, then that is where the trouble starts…These people that are suppose to help the county they don’t even know the county. Come on people of Hays County WAKE UP AND LOOK WHAT HAS HAPPENED..WE ARE TRYING TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAMILY HERE…WHY DON’T YOU ASK YOU KIDS,MOTHER,FATHER,UNCLE,AUNT….How is things at Hays County?

  2. Cutler who he is..Oh that’s right the one that has his name all over the Hays County Sheriffs Office on the Disco Ball in the Lobby… Oh and Page I have a face..look above my breast…You have been in my presence on several occasions and always had to ask my name, you are so good at your job why would know who I was since I was the one of the best Corrections Officers at Hays County Oh.. that’s right I was 10 lbs over your weight limit ..My Name Is Vicki Morphew Also Known as One of the best Officers Hays County as had..Mrs. V, AKA..Officer Morphew,

  3. Chief Page is the downfall of Gary Cutler’s sheriff’s dept. He is an OBAMA supporter, that should tell you all you need to know.
    DemocRATS don’t mix with Reps. If a Republican is what you really are Gary?
    He (Page) let’s his anger run the dept while Gary has the deer in the headlights mentality.
    I feel for all who are under the Tyrant Page and the puppet Gary Cutler.

  4. Yea this is great news hopefully this worthless sheriff cutler will get what he has coming! Him and his puppet page should have been ran out of office long ago if it hadn’t been for having the D.A Sherri Tibbe in Cutlers pocket. For anyone who is an elected official and refuses to pay because they are on duty should be charged and punished!!! Take your worthless selves back to Travis county if they will even take you both back. Both cutler and page are all about spending money on worthless crap for the Sheriffs Office and could care less about the employees unless your on their band wagon as they call it! How about where they give employees a self evaluation that is supposed to be done by the employees and wannabe General Page sends them back and says they aren’t done well enough?? Who is he to decide what someone thinks of themselves?

  5. Ok, the jail has passed inspections since Cutler has been elected. Basically, it sounds like y’all are now required to earn your paychecks and never were before; boo hoo. I don’t know about the self evaluations, but if the grammar and spelling are indicative of what one of the evaluations may have looked like, maybe they were sent back for grammatical corrections.

  6. Wow. Regardless of the subject, it really frightens me that public employees can’t form an articulate sentence to express their grievances.

  7. Really? You are going to attack their GRAMMAR?!?! Grammatical mistakes do not entirely discredit an argument, especially when the individuals who have been wronged are obviously too ANGRY to proofread. Sounds like you couldn’t discredit their complaints on any other grounds, because YOU KNOW THEY’RE RIGHT, so you are going after their grammatical errors. Weak, weak, weak…

    Oh, and I heard today that the jail staff received emails threatening them with immediate termination if they commented on this article. So much for freedom of speech. We’ve seen this kind of egomaniacal oppression before. “Heil, Cutler!”

  8. Oh, you “heard” jail staff were threatened with termination? Bless your heart! Why don’t you see if you can get one of these alleged emails sent to you and let us all know what was sent. If not, go ahead and just believe what you hear, without proof. I’d say that since the jail has passed inspections, when they weren’t able to before, somewhat discredits their arguments. But, that’s just me. One of them mentioned asking employees how they feel about it. I’d say go ahead and do that. The deputies I’ve asked are much happier now than they were under the prior administration.

  9. Oh, and about your moronic assessment that they are now required to earn their paychecks and never were before – anyone who has ever worked in a correctional facility will tell you that these men and women earn every penny of that paycheck every day. What they are being asked, no FORCED, to do now is kiss up to Cutler and Paige and STAY SILENT about the corruption, misuse of power, and misappropriation of county funds that they see around them every day, and that is certainly not in their job description.

  10. Oh, so you’re now saying that anyone who has ever worked in a correctional facility can clearly state that all who work in a specific jail/prison MUST be hard workers? My assessment is moronic? Good logic! Hey, ask anyone who’s ever been a fireman (San Antonio, San Francisco, New York, or any other dept). They’ll tell you that an Austin fireman earns his paycheck. Yeah, that makes sense because just because you perform a job, you can clearly attest to the fact that everyone who performs the same job for any dept. is earning their paycheck. Let me give you an hint, the FBI LOVES busting govt. officials who are corrupt, misuse power, and misappropriate funds. If there’s any merit to your argument, let the FBI field office know and I’m sure they’d be happy to investigate; that is unless your comments are baseless. Look, I’m sure most of the corrections officers are hard workers. I’m referring solely to the ones that are typing these whining comments. My guess are they’re Ratliff supporters who are still mad that the citizenry elected someone else. You’ll have your chance in the primary. Get out and campaign for the candidate of your choice.

  11. Yes, there is camaraderie among firemen, police officers, and other emergency workers throughout the country for a reason. They alone understand what they do day in and day out to keep the rest of America’s citizenry safe. As you point out, the specifics of being a fireman in San Francisco versus being one in Austin may be different, but I do not believe that any firefighter in the country who believes in what he/she does is going to accuse another firefighter of not earning their paycheck.
    The same holds true for corrections officers. These men and women deal with the worst element of society every day so that the rest of us do not have to. These are very modestly paid public servants, and I for one am genuinely appreciative of the contributions they are making to ensuring public safety. I would never dismiss the very serious concerns that they have raised about Cutler/Paige based simply on their grammar, just as I would never accuse them of not earning their paychecks. To do so is severely disrespectful.
    I do, however, agree with your suggestion that an outside, impartial agency be brought in to investigate the allegations that have been raised here. I would support any such endeavor.

  12. Well, the FBI phone number, I’m sure, can be located on the internet. If the problems are that evident, and you’re that concerned, give them a call. Understand, just because a few disgruntled employees are griping about their bosses, doesn’t mean that the majority of them feel that way.

  13. This seems more like an issue for the County Commissioner’s Court than the FBI but I could be wrong. Even so, elected officials are expected to meet a certain level of integrity and they can fail to do that without technically committing a crime. If someone you invite to dinner acts like a jack***, you may not have them arrested but you don’t invite them back. I suggest that we not invite this guy back and vote him out in the next election.

  14. RE:Whiners, I can’t help to respond to your comments. When you want to compare earning status between corrections officer & firemen pay. Because everyone should know a firemen earn a hell lot more than a corrections officer do. The line of work between the two is different but the outcome is ALL the same, death. Firemen make more money & get more help from stores asking for donations to help firemen fight wildfire and what not. Being a corrections officer earn little pay, make due with what they have on their back & it’s not much. Yet they don’t ask for donations or have stores to help to provide them to perform their job. That’s up to Commissioner’s Court & Sheriff Office for raise’s. As to why jail passed inspection this year & not prior years we will never know the truth to it all. But for one thing is for certain, a corrections officer is willing to put their life on the line everyday regardless of how little they make. So yes, they do earn every little money they do make regardless if they can grammatically be correct or to articulate a freaking sentence. Until you have walk in their shoes you have NO room to speak. Making fun of the way they talk or write speaks highly of yourself. Remember, when your dress in firemen uniform in the middle of the road asking for donations to “Fill the boot” these guys are willing to give with little pay they do make.

  15. You’ve clearly missed the point. The point was not a salary comparison. Allow me to simplify. A corrections officer in Travis County, Hays County, L.A. County, Dade County, etc. does not have a clue how the work ethic is in those other counties. While their jobs may be the same, the way they perform those jobs may not. Just for educational purposes, the firemen don’t get to keep the Fill the Boot money. It goes to Muscular Dystrophy. I’m an not saying that CO’s don’t have a hard job. I’m not saying that they are underpaid, as are most public servants. What I’m saying is they are now being held to a higher standard. The few noisy ones on this site clearly don’t like that. Here’s the deal. When you take a job in public service, you know how much you’re going to be paid. No one is making you take the job, or make you stay with it. If one isn’t happy with his/her job, one is free to find another. The fact that you refuse to give the sheriff some credit for jail inspections being passed says a great deal about the point of view from which you’re coming. If you know anything about working in a jail, report writing is a part of you duties. These reports have the possibility of going to court and being seen by numerous individuals involved in the judicial process (judges, clerks, attorneys, the media, etc). Since part of the job is writing, one could argue that lack of the ability to do so could pose a problem for one who chose such a profession. Now, I’ve never been a CO. So, that is just my opinion. I guess it is possible to be able to perform a job without being able to adequately perform certain duties associated with that job. I’m am not demeaning the job of a CO. I’m sure it is hard and underappreciated. Again, I writing directly to the people who have chosen to whine on this site.

  16. Re: Whiners, Well “Thank You” for clearing up the “Fill the Boot” situation. I never ask the firemen what’s it for, I just give, as we all do. I will give the Sheriff Office as a whole credit for the jail passing inspection not just the Sheriff himself credit. As to why it passed this year and not prior years, that’s the jail inspector to answer not me. As for you to mention about report writing as being part of a corrections officer duty because they have the possibility to go to court & so on & so forth. Well, you need to address this issue to the Sheriff of Hays County as what is he doing or going to do to help improve his corrections officer report writing, because I’m not the Sheriff of Hays County to answer that for you. Wouldn’t county money would be well spent if it’s suppose to help improve your officers not belittle them? Even some Doctor’s can’t spell worth a crap and they have PHD’s. But as the saying goes, “Just another educated Idiot”. Besides the people who you say that are “whininng” on this site, like the saying goes, there are three sides to every story, “their side, your side and the TRUTH.” Let 2012 election day speak for itself.

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