Once in awhile you read a story that punches you in the heart and makes you mouth the words “why….?” This is one of them. This is the story about a bully in a position of power who saw weakness in a teacher at Adobe Mountain School and then took that opportunity to strip her of her dignity, her job, and the ability to pay her cancer medical bills. This was not performance weakness or character weakness we are talking about. It is the weakness that many of our family members and us have faced or will face – the weakness that grabs you by the throat when your body betrays you and you just can’t work to provide for yourself.
What does a good leader do when one of her team members faces a cancer battle? I would hope compassion, support, and loyalty would win over shortsighted and cruel bottom-line based decisions. Well, Ms. Dona Marie Markley, the Juvenile Corrections Director for the State of Arizona displayed a severe level of cruelty when she fired one of her teachers, Tarah Ausburn, on Monday because she could not return to work because Tarah is battling breast cancer. Markley stole her job and stole her health insurance. In the process, in my opinion, she stole her own ability to lead anything, let alone a Department of the State of Arizona. The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com jumped on this story this week, and, based upon angry calls and emails to Governor Ducey’s office, the Governor himself, today reinstated Tarah’s job with full pay and benefits. Hell yes. Governor Ducey, your leadership in this situation is admirable and you gained a lot of respect today. Thank you.
So, now Ms. Markley, you better face some scrutiny here because you were mean. You were cruel. You were a bully when you decided to take Tarah’s job away. I am a taxpayer. I want answers. I want to know why. I have only heard one side of this situation, and I have an open mind. Was Tarah a bad teacher? Did she steal from the Department? Did she hurt a student? I ask because it damn well better have been something pretty horrible for you to take this woman’s health insurance away. If your answer is some party line about “she could not return to do the job she was hired to do….” then you need to move on. I hope that Governor Ducey gets you face to face here pretty soon. Because, you have some explaining to do.
Thanks, Governor, for righting this wrong and making a kind human decision. You made me proud that you are leading our state today. Thank you. Now, I am looking forward to see the accountability that the decision-makers have to face. Get us some answers and make sure this does not happen again.
Torgenson Law is an Arizona Personal Injury Law Firm. Our mission in life is to obtain accountability and compensation for good people who have been wronged.