Commissioner Piech Called Out in Former County Employee’s $100K+ Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted on January 5, 2022 by Romi White

Santa Rosa County District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech is among those called out in a lawsuit filed December 20 against Santa Rosa County, alleging discrimination and retaliation against a former county employee who blew the whistle on the county’s lack of enforcement of its contract with Waste Pro.

Natasha Borneo was hired in November 2020 as the County’s Waste Compliance Supervisor. She alleges that she was subjected to disparate treatment, different terms and conditions of employment and was held to a different standard because she reported “unlawful employment activities” and was subject to retaliation thereafter.

Court documents assert that Borneo, an African American disabled female of Caribbean descent, received disparate treatment “at the hands of specifically but not limited” to:

  • District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech
  • former County Administrator Dan Schebler
  • former Assistant County Administrator Mark Murray
  • former Interim County Attorney Greg Stewart
  • Human Resources Director GinNeal McVay
  • County Environmental Manager Andrew Hill

Court documents stated that it was Borneo’s job to investigate and report non-compliance of Waste Pro and that she would report problems to Hill but started to notice a “continuing pattern of behavior” in which he was “letting Waste Pro get away with things that were or could be violations of law and/or policy.”

Borneo alleges Hill and a Waste Pro employee attempted to disrupt her work. She says emails were deleted and calls to her were re-routed. Additionally, the documents allege the duo were having staff “stalk” her when she was in the field investigating possible non-compliance.

Court documents also state Borneo received threats against her family, claiming she was warned that “employees in the past had gone missing in Santa Rosa County when opposing the actions of higher ups within the County.”

Due to concerns over retaliation and other issues, Borneo in May 2021 made a request to McVay to work remotely, explaining she was experiencing “severe” panic attacks and a racing heart, including one during work which required a trip to an emergency room. 

“At no point did McVay recommend nor arrange for Plantiff to receive an Employment Assistance Program referral or accomodation,” states the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states McVay “refused” to provide the request because policy required employees to submit them through their director supervisor, whom Borneo says was the “primary aggressor” against her.

Per Borneo, after taking off four sick days as recommended by her doctor, McVay explained Schebler wanted to have a meeting with her regarding Waste Pro disclosures. Borneo says she was surprised when McVay, Murray and Stewart were also present at the meeting. 

During that meeting, Schebler reportedly stated an independent third-party investigation report he commissioned found “no merit” to Borneo’s claims. 

The lawsuit also claims Piech on social media asserted Borneo was “just making it up” before he “later had it taken down from the Facebook page before it could be widely circulated.”

Borneo said she was “forced to resign” July 15 after being placed on “indefinite leave.”

First Judicial Circuit Santa Rosa County Judge Darlene Dickey has been assigned to preside over the case.