County court employee fired over Facebook post

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

BEAUMONT — A Jefferson County Court employee has been fired over a Facebook post condemning the Black Lives Matter movement.

Patricia Washburn Kloef-korn was fired from her job as court coordinator for the 252nd District Court by Judge Raquel West on Tuesday.

“Today the court coordinator of the 252nd District Court was terminated. The integrity of the court is my top propriety. Inappropriate and offensive comments made by court personnel will not be tolerated,” West said in a statement.

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Kloefkorn’s Facebook page has been deleted, but her post, made at 12:35 p.m. July 17, was copied and reposted by others. In the post she says she “has held back from saying anything from fear of losing friends” before speaking out against the shooting of police officers.

“Out doing their job Over BLM crap. Yes, crap. First of all if you have time to protest for BLM, GET A JOB. WLM. All lives matter. M lives matter. B, W, A, M people shoot B, W, A, M people all the time (I see it every day IN MY JOB). But I don’t have time to protest because I have a job,” the post reads.

The post continues on and calls out President Obama, who, she says, helped create the “storm.”

The county has no specific social media policy – yet.

“There is not a social media policy, but there is one that’s being worked on for the past several months,” Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said. “The county attorney tells me we will have something for the commissioners court to review by late August.”

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office adopted a policy July 12, Deputy Marcus McLellan said.

The policy says department personnel are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree “that their speech does not impair working relationships of this department for which loyalty and confidentiality are important, impede the performance of duties or impair discipline and harmony among coworkers, or negatively affect the public perception of the department. Any violations of this policy are subject to disciplinary action.”

Personnel are asked to be mindful that speech on social media becomes part of the worldwide media domain and adherence to the department’s code of conduct is required during personal use of social media.