FOLSOM, LA (WVUE) - Wednesday would have marked Faye Dennis' 40th anniversary at St. Tammany Parish Hospital. But she retired back in May.
"I was really hurt about that," she tells us.
You see, Dennis worked in the hospital's mailroom, 20 hours a week. She says she wanted a full time job. But her replacement got a full-time job, 40 hours a week. He worked 20 hours in the mailroom and, according to the hospital, 20 hours in another department.
Last month, FOX 8 News and NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune uncovered emails that discussed Faye Dennis' replacement in the mailroom: Richard Reed, the brother of St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed. Richard Reed resigned from the mailroom job last month. The emails showed hospital administrators and employees discussing the hiring of his "replacement." Reed was working 40 hours a week. But according to the emails, the "real need is 20."
Hospital vice president Jean Holtman wrote, "I would recommend that we make it a 40 hour position just to show that Richard's position was needed."
The hospital's chief financial officer, Tim Lessing, replied, "What am I missing? If you only need 20 why would we fill as full?"
Holtman responded, "I am more concerned it is more obvious that STPH made a position for Richard. This may not be the best light for our hospital to be seen in."
"I had been there all that time," Dennis says, "and why would they choose me to do this to, and then give him this job? What was the difference between me and him that he could work 40 and I could only work 20?"
Dennis believes the difference comes down to Richard Reed's brother being the district attorney. "I really do," she tells us. "It was a favoritism. I think politics played a big part in this, I really do."
Dennis says she had knee replacement surgery on December 30 and had to leave her post in the mailroom.
"That was strange that that happened," she says. "I had trained another gentleman while I was out, having surgery. Then, all of a sudden, I heard that Richard was in the mailroom. I couldn't figure out how Richard got in the mailroom and he had never worked the mailroom. Matter of fact, I don't even remember him coming in the mailroom the whole time I was there... He didn't even know how to turn the machine on. So how could he get in the mailroom?"
According to an email from an April meeting, Richard Reed moved to the mailroom and began "going around saying that he has the easiest job in the hospital.
"That may be true," the email continues, "but you need to tell him not to talk about it."
Faye Dennis worked in the mailroom most of her time at the hospital. From 1974 to 2011, the mailroom was a full-time job.
When they cut her hours by half, she says, "They said, well, not enough work in the mailroom."
In a statement early this month, Walter Reed said, "The reality is that I was not even aware of any controversy regarding [Richard Reed's] work and certainly did not attempt to influence any personnel decisions by the hospital."
Walter Reed said his brother left his position at the hospital "in light of the media's attempt to vilify him."
But Richard Reed resigned on June 13; our first story about him did not air until five days later, June 18.
"I don't think none of this is right, what's going on," Dennis says.
Another email includes notes from another meeting, showing that a hospital administrator told another employee this about Richard Reed: "I know that there is nothing for him to do, but put him on the receiving dock. Anything. Put him anywhere. Pushing a cart. Licking stamps. Birdwatching."
"It tells me that they just wanted him with a job there," Dennis says. "And like I told you before, it's all politics. Politics is really playing a big role in this."
With both Dennis and Richard Reed gone, the hospital re-posted the mailroom clerk job – at part-time hours, 20 a week.
We asked St. Tammany Parish Hospital for their comments on this report. Hospital management released a statement Wednesday evening, saying Richard Reed "was temporarily assigned to the mailroom for its 20 hours and other roles in the Materials Management department for 20 hours," after his existing position in Home Health and Hospice was eliminated.
As for Faye Dennis, the hospital says she was "most certainly offered the mailroom position upon her return from medical leave. We are disappointed to learn of her perspective via the media, as she did not voice those employment concerns to the hospital."