EL RENO – An investigation into a complaint filed against the co-director of the Canadian County Juvenile Justice Center will continue with the assistance of a Tulsa private investigator.
The Canadian County commissioners voted Wednesday during a special meeting to hire Laflin Investigative Group to investigate a complaint against Bill Alexander.
Alexander was suspended with pay last week after the county was notified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that a discrimination complaint had been filed.
Details of the complaint are not public record, and county officials have declined to provide further details.
The contract with Laflin indicates the private investigator will look into any allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment, political intimidation or coercion, wrongful termination and malfeasance by any supervisory personnel in the performance of their duty.
The company will be paid $100 per hour, up to $5,000 plus mileage.
District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader, who is chairman of the board, said he contacted four agencies about the investigation and felt that Laflin was the best option.
Hader said Laflin has previously worked with both Rogers and Tulsa counties.
District 2 Commissioner Dave Anderson said the decision to hire an outside investigator is appropriate.
“I feel like it is important that we get this process started. All parties involved need to get answers. I think it is important that we hire someone who is independent to do this investigation,” Anderson said. “I am glad we are moving forward as quickly as we can.”
Hader said the commissioners are interested in the truth.
The investigator will do most of his work at the courthouse so that employees will not feel intimidated, said the commissioners.
Hader said it is hoped the investigation can be completed within three weeks.
Meanwhile, questions about whether the commissioners had the authority to suspend Alexander may have been answered. There have been reports that only the judge overseeing the juvenile justice center has that authority.
However, the commissioners point to a state law that says the judge can hire the director of the facility with the approval of the board of commissioners.
“We felt we acted within the limited authority that we have been given,” Hader said.