Gutsy...or insubordinate? - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Gutsy...or insubordinate?

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LITTLE ROCK -

Taking a stand against a questionable hire may be putting a state employee's job in jeopardy.

A woman recently hired by the state to interpret sign language is back in school to better learn the skill…despite the objections of her immediate supervisor.

We told you Thursday night how emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show the deaf community objects to this hire.

Now you will see at least one state employee joins them.

At least a half dozen certified sign language interpreters tried to get a state job with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services earlier this year.

The woman who beat them out for the job had "No certifications" and interviewer David McDonald felt she "Did not understand the English or the American Sign Language."

When questions were raised about the hire, Department of Career Education Director Bill Walker told lawmakers she was returning to school to get national certification.

Federal money would pay for it.

But her new supervisor, David McDonald, would have to sign off on the plan.

He refused.

Upset bosses demanded to know why.

So McDonald told them in a letter obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

It reads in part: "An interpreter we hire should be able to interpret from the start."

On a signing ability test (QAST) with a scale from 1 to 5 she…"did not even achieve a 1."

On "…three interpreting assignments" she has received "…three complaints."

"If the interpreter is not qualified and makes mistakes, lives are impacted."

And the hiring of unqualified interpreters is "…an injustice to the people we are charged with serving."

In an email written by Deputy Director Robert Trevino, McDonald's actions are described as "out-of-line," "disappointing" and possible "insubordination."

The sign language interpreter in question is taking two classes at U.A.L.R..

Who is paying the $1,500.00 tuition bill?  We're not sure.

As for McDonald, emails indicate he now fears for his job.

Air date:  August 24th, 2012