Former Enterprise financial director resigns, citing toxic work environment

Politics

ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — A new letter made available to WDHN has shed light on internal conflicts within the Enterprise municipal government.

The letter, addressed to Mayor Bill Cooper by former Finance Director Stephanie Crowe, describes in detail the reasons for her resignation, which became final on Aug. 8.

Crowe wrote that she left due to lack of clear direction with her position and a toxic work environment caused by Council President Perry Vickers and Robert Dean, whom she only refers to as the “Clerk\Treasurer.”

“For instance, a couple of weeks ago while you and I were meeting the Clerk\Treasurer and Mr. Vickers came into the meeting uninvited and sat down,” she wrote. “Mr. Vickers then demanded an apology for the tenor of my emails. He also berated me because he did not think I understood chain of command.”

According to Crowe, she was not the only department head to be treated this way.

“This showed a great disrespect for (Mayor Cooper and his office) and I am not comfortable with that,” she added.

Crowe also said there was no clear chain of command as to whom the director should report to.

“The position should report directly to the Mayor and if necessary to the Council,” she wrote. “I have been told one thing by the City Clerk\Treasurer and another by you. This has caused several unnecessary conflicts that have taken a toll.”

In addition to chain of command issues, Crowe also had trouble getting access to matters than related to city finances but still did not seven months after asking to be included in such matters.

“The City Clerk/Treasurer that is included in those matters has no financial background and does not communicate any information regarding these matters to me,” she said, calling Enterprise’s situation “precarious.”

While making suggestions for the next financial director, Crow said that the position should be taken by a man since he would “be less likely to be bullied by the City Clerk\Treasurer or Perry Vickers.”

Cooper could not comment on the situation, saying it was a personnel matter, but he did speak highly of Crowe’s performance as the financial director.

“We really hated to see her go,” he said. “She was very professional and efficient at what the job called for. She was a very good person to work with.”

“We wish her well at whatever she’s going to do in the future,” he added.

We reached out to Vickers for comment, but he said does not “professionally nor ethically” respond to personnel matters.

Cooper said the city is already looking for Crowe’s replacement and that he hopes the person will be able to get the situation in order.

For her part, Vickers did wish Cooper and the city “continued success.”

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