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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

DA to review Schoharie County harassment report

DA to review Schoharie County harassment report

Findings in a $300,000 investigation into employee harassment in Schoharie County will be reviewed b

Findings in a $300,000 investigation into employee harassment in Schoharie County will be reviewed by the district attorney later this week.

The county Board of Supervisors scheduled a 5 p.m. meeting Friday to “get the advice and recommendations from the District Attorney regarding the report from the Fitzmaurice and Walsh Law Firm,” according to a notice from board Clerk Sheryl Largeteau.

Following months of discussion, the board last week published findings dated to February, but some officials dismissed this report as nothing more than allegations voiced by some of roughly 400 people interviewed over the past year.

The probe started in September 2012 when the board hired the downstate law firm to investigate complaints of workplace harassment and intimidation lodged by employees.

The initial report submitted to the county Board, released to the public last week, described dysfunction in the county workplace that involved rudeness, incivility and hostility among members of the board, department heads, employees and the general public.

It fell short of pointing out any indication of illegal activity but recommended two former employees, Penny Grimes and Eva Gigandet, get their jobs back. They were among several people who lost their jobs during budgeting in 2011. Both filed lawsuits that were dismissed.

Some officials, such as Schoharie town Supervisor Gene Milone, are calling for the release of the law firm’s second report, which analyzed the results of the first report. Milone said Tuesday he believes the second report sheds light on corruption in government he believes was expressed by some department heads picking and choosing who would lose their jobs in 2011.

He said despite historic flooding that followed Tropical Storm Irene and caused millions of dollars worth of damage to county facilities, he doesn’t believe anybody should have been let go in 2011.

“There was no need for anyone to go,” he said.

County Attorney Michael West said Tuesday he was evaluating information in the second report and declined further comment.

Board Chairman Philip Skowfoe could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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