OKC law firm to provide advice to county on justice center case

An Oklahoma City law firm will serve as legal advisers to the Canadian County Commissioners when they begin reviewing an independent report on allegations of discrimination at the county’s juvenile justice center near El Reno.

Commissioners Marc Hader and Dave Anderson voted to select the law firm of Fuller Tubb and Bickford to provide legal advice related to the claim, which was filed against Bill Alexander, the center’s co-director, in June. Commissioner Jack Stewart is on vacation.

Alexander served as the co-director along with Dr. Bill Sharp. Alexander handled much of the day to day operations until June 12 when his duties were changed by the commissioners after officials announced that a claim had been filed against the county and Alexander with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Under the new duties, Alexander is not allowed to have contact with anyone at the justice center, nor can he be at the justice center.

Since the change, Alexander has been working from home on the justice center’s budget, according to Special Judge Bob Hughey, who handles the bulk of juvenile cases in the county, and is over the justice center.

Alexander, contacted by telephone Thursday evening, said he would like to talk about his case, but has been advised by legal counsel not to speak at the moment.

Thursday’s actions come as the county prepares to receive a report from a Tulsa investigation firm. Over the past month, the investigator has spoken with a number of people employed at the justice center.

Hader said Thursday that the investigation is nearly complete, with only one or two witnesses remaining to be interviewed.

Details of the investigative report are expected to be eventually released to the commissioners during an executive session. However, because they are part of an EEOC investigation, they likely will be sealed.

EEOC complaints are not open record.

Under the agreement, Fuller Tubbs and Bickford will charge hourly rates ranging from $160 to $375 depending on who is working on the case. The agreement is good through June 30.

The county looked also looked at retaining McAfee and Taft, another area firm. However, Hader said they selected a firm that best fit the county’s needs.

He also said they would be available to talk not only with the commissioners, but any elected official.

Meanwhile, the commissioner also are facing a second discrimination case that has been filed with EEOC.

Breanna Shunn, the former assistant for the county’s emergency management office, filed a claim against the county saying that she was given the director’s job in May because of her age and as a form of retaliation.

She was fired June 16.

Hader said Thursday that commissioners recently met with attorneys from Collins, Zorn and Wagner to discuss the case. That law firm represents counties through the Association of County Commissioners.

Hader said during that meeting, they learned that the attorneys are working a on a response for the EEOC.

 

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