Atwater employee back on job

Accused in 2011 of harassment

a href="mailto:mnorth@mercedsunstar.com">mnorth@mercedsunstar.comMay 19, 2013 

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SUN-STAR PHOTO BY MARCI STENBERG Atwater code enforcement officer Mike Teater, who's on administrative leave withthe city, started a website. The site encourages city officials not to hire Interm City manager Stan Feathers as the city's permanent manager.

MARCI STENBERG — Merced Sun-Star

— A code enforcement officer who was terminated in 2011 on allegations of sexual harassment was back on the job this week.

Code enforcement officer Mike Teater, 52, was put on administrative leave and later terminated after another city employee accused him of making suggestive comments toward her and other inappropriate conduct.

Teater maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal and hired an attorney to represent him.

Mayor Joan Faul confirmed that Teater is back working for the city, but couldn't expand on the claims against him since it's a personnel matter. She also couldn't go into the city's decision to bring him back, since it was made in closed session.

Neither Teater nor Frank Pietro, police chief and interim city manager, could be reached for comment.

Before he was terminated, Teater started a website that gave letter grades to city officials and was often critical of them.

In 2011, Teater claimed the allegations were simply a way for a disgruntled employee to get back at him for his website.

Reprimanded twice

Although Teater had been an Atwater code enforcement officer for 10 years by the time he was terminated, he'd worked for the city for 16 years and had been reprimanded twice during that time, he said, adding that neither incident involved sexual harassment.

After Teater was put on administrative leave and eventually terminated, the city had been splitting code enforcement duties between the Building Division and the Police Department.

Faul said there will be a lot of work for Teater now that he's back with the city.

"I think we can keep him very busy with our graffiti problems, our problems with our vacant homes that are getting overgrown with grass and people parking on the lawns," Faul said. "There are enough code enforcement things to keep a person very busy."

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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