Friday, August 24
Updated: August 25, 7:40 PM ET
Davenport East coach suspended for missing work

Associated Press

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Taking his team to the Little League World Series proved to be a costly venture for manager Matt Kolar.

After his Davenport East team lost all three of its games in South Williamsport, Pa., Kolar returned home to find he had been suspended from his job for two weeks without pay for missing work.

Kolar, a sales representative for Qwest Dex, said he was told of the suspension Thursday. His team was eliminated from the World Series on Tuesday.

"I have no idea why my employer decided to do this," Kolar said Friday from his home in Davenport. "For some reason, they decided to make a stand. To me, it's ridiculous."

Kolar also managed Davenport East in last year's Little League World Series and was not punished for missing work. His supervisor, Larry Seals, declined to comment on the company's action.

"We do not discuss internal matters with people outside the company," Seals said.

Kolar's union, the Communications Workers of America, has filed a grievance. He said he doubted it would change anything.

"Ordinarily not," he said. "I've been around a long time. You file a grievance and nothing usually happens."

Kolar was gone for eight working days because the team flew straight from Indianapolis, the site of its regional tournament, to Williamsport. He said Seals called him in South Williamsport on Monday, Aug. 13.

"He kind of indicated we need you back here. I said I'm not coming back until we're done," Kolar said. "Wednesday he called and was more formal. He said, `I'm giving you a direct order to be back Monday morning.' I said, `I'm not going to be there."'

Kolar said August is a busy time for the sales force because the DEX Yellow Pages book comes out in the fall. Still, Kolar said he could not understand why the company took such a hard line.

"I don't know what they're thinking -- you must be here Monday," he said. "Why did I need to be here Monday if they were going to suspend me? They knew there was no chance of that. I guess they need to draw a line in the sand."

Kolar said he can return to work on Sept. 10. He also said the experience of the Little League World Series was worth the hassle.

"You bet," he said. "In a heartbeat."

Besides, he added, "I've got plenty to do around here."

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