November 2, 2010
Tuntland moved the testimony back to the State Auditors Report, which became important because it resulted in charges being filed against Blunt. The Perfomance Audit Report was completed in October 2006. It included issues of morale at WSI.
Long said the report found there were problems with morale, and that there was a finding of fear of retaliation within the agency. He testified that employees feared retaliation at the time of the audit, and that he personally had such fear.
Long said Blunt had a saying, "You're either on the bus or you're under the bus." If you step out of line, you get run over by the bus.
He said that people would come to him in capacity in HR, and that he personally witnessed retaliatory activities in the case of Angela Shabinsky. He said Blunt wanted to purchase iffy things like alcohol and tobacco, and Shabinsky had to put her own name on the vouchers. She would go through the chain of command to complain, but she decided to resign, as she felt she was being retaliated against for complaining.
Tuntland asked whether Long observed any retaliation at WSI; he said yes.
He then asked, "At the time you submitted your request for whistleblower protection August 20, 2006, did you have independent fear of retaliation?" Long replied, "I knew it would happen. It wasn't a fear, it was going to happen."
Tuntland established there was an employee morale study following the auditor report that was done about the time Blunt was charged with a crime. There were concerns about favoritism in that report; Long testified that Blunt engaged in favoritism. Long said Blunt had hired two friends, Sonja Nellie and Tim Hutchings for six figure positions, with incentives for more income.