BELLMEAD, Texas (KWTX) – A harassment and discrimination claim has been lodged against Bellmead City Manager Yost Zakhary.
The claim was filed Monday by Asst. Bellmead Police Chief Brenda Kinsey.
According to a copy of the complaint filed following an investigation by her legal team Johnson, Hobbs & Squires, LLP, Zakhary has engaged in “consistent, repeated and ongoing harassment, gender discrimination and unlawful conduct towards one or more female employees of the City, including Kinsey.”
Kinsey is the only person within the Bellmead Police Dept. to hold a Master Peace Officer’s License, the complaint states, and it goes on to allege that Zakhary has “consistently diminished or marginalized” her role in favor of her male subordinates.
“Frustrated with Ms. Kinsey’s superior experience and qualifications, and in a specific effort to diminish Ms. Kinsey’s level of expertise, on December 1, 2021, Mr. Zakhary revised (i.e. intentionally lowered) the minimum qualifications necessary for Chief of Police position job applicants in order to favor existing male candidates,” the document states.
The document goes on to allege, Zakhary has been actively asking employees for dirt on Kinsey to “get rid of her.”
And it’s not just Kinsey Zakhary is targeting, according to the complaint.
“By way of example, when the Assistant City Manager (and CFO and Head of HR) recently received a haircut, Mr. Zakhary referred to her in the office as a “Di*e,” the document states. “More recently, on or about December 1, 2021, while discussing Ms. Kinsey in a meeting with one or more City employees and officials, Mr. Zakhary referred to Ms. Kinsey as a ‘Bi**h.’”
Zakhary, the former City Manager of Woodway who in 2018 resigned amid sexual harassment complaints, was hired in Bellmead in April of 2020 after serving as the city’s interim city manager for more than a year.
“The City of Bellmead is undoubtedly aware that Mr. Zakhary has a history of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace throughout his career and while employed by the City of Bellmead,” the document states. “The City would have been aware of Mr. Zakhary’s history of discriminatory behavior when the City originally hired Mr. Zakhary, as Mr. Zakhary’s resignation from the City of Woodway (and reasons leading thereto) was well publicized in Waco and is a matter of public record.”
Kinsey was placed on administrative leave by Mr. Zakhary on Dec. 10, citing a Texas Rangers investigation that the complaint says Zakhary pushed for and lied about since it never materialized.
“Mr. Zakhary called both Mr. Leonard and Ms. Kinsey into his office and informed Ms. Kinsey that he was going to place her on administrative leave,” the document states. “Incredibly, during the discussion, Mr. Zakhary told Ms. Kinsey that the Texas Rangers had decided to investigate her, but that he’d temporarily kept them from pursuing it so that ‘it could be handled in-house.’”
The document goes on to say, “Unsatisfied with the Texas Rangers’ unwillingness to pursue Mr. Zakhary’s fabricated claims, Mr. Zakhary has now taken matters into his own hands, placing Ms. Kinsey on administrative leave without previously notifying Ms. Kinsey of any alleged wrongdoing, any prior discipline or following any progressive disciplinary procedures whatsoever.”
The complaint alleges Zakhary timed putting her on leave ahead of Tuesday night’s council meeting to select a new chief of police.
The complaint asks for Kinsey to be taken off of leave, and instead have Zakhary placed on leave until the allegations in the claim are fully investigated.
A call to Zakhary’s office wasn’t immediately returned.
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