Juvenile center co-director says he was fired

The co-director of the Gary E. Miller Children’s Justice Center says he was fired over the weekend after having been placed on paid leave in June.

“I won’t be coming back,” Bill Alexander said when contacted by phone on Monday.

The employment of Alexander was the subject of a 1-hour, 45-minute executive session that included the Canadian County commissioners, Associate Judge Bob Hughey and the county’s legal team.

Hughey, who handles the majority of juvenile cases, is based at the children’s justice center east of El Reno.

He was Alexander’s supervisor and was responsible for making the decision about Alexander’s future with the county.

Alexander said he was contacted over the weekend and informed that he would not be returning to the agency.

“I hate that because it is a wonderful place. It does great things for kids and families,” Alexander said.

Hughey did not return calls seeking comment about Alexander’s termination.

Alexander has been on paid leave since early June when a former employee filed a harassment complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Alexander said the complaint is not true.

“It is fictitious. It did not happen. They have learned that as well, the county has. They have figured out that it is false, and I am very, very confident that the EEOC will find I am not guilty of any of the discrimination that was listed in the EEOC complaint,” Alexander said.

“I am also confident the county will win the case because there is nothing to it … unless the county intentionally tries to lose it,” he said.

County Commissioner Marc Hader, who is chairman of the board of commissioners, did not confirm that Alexander had been terminated, only saying the county would release a statement later.

Alexander said he did make a mistake, but had previously been disciplined for his actions.

However, he felt that mistake was why he was fired.

Alexander would not go into detail about the incident.

The former co-director did question why the commissioners were involved in his employment since it was a personnel matter at the justice center. Alexander said they had never before been involved in such a matter.

“The commissioners treated me as if I were guilty. They suspended me. They felt I was guilty and never gave a second thought I might not be guilty. Now, they do an investigation and don’t come up with anything,” he said.

Alexander claims the commissioners used the old incident as cause for his dismissal.

Alexander also questioned whether the commissioners used a private investigator to look into a 2016 sales tax election that would have allowed a county sales tax to be used for other reasons than the justice center.

“The people of the county need to be asking a lot of questions about why I have been sitting at home for 16 weeks and then they hire an outside investigator…. It has been done illegally, and I believe in violation of the open meeting act,” he said.

Alexander said the Laflin Group was hired to conduct an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at the justice center, but actually started asking employees about the 2016 election.

“That let me know what it was about all along. This was about the election,” he said.

He said the agenda item indicated the contract was for the investigation into the EEOC complaint. It did not include looking into the election and other aspects of the county.

“They didn’t want the people of the county to know they were financing their battle with the justice center at taxpayer’s expense,” he said.

The agenda does not include any item other than the investigation of the EEOC complaint.

The contract with Laflin does list political intimidation as one of the areas that Laflin was to review when talking to employees.

County Commissioner Marc Hader, who is chairman of the board of commissioners, said that the contract with Laflin does include an investigation into political intimidation, as well as other things like sexual harassment and wrongful terminations at the justice center.

Hader said the contract was prepared by then-assistant district attorney Paul Hesse.

Hesse is now the county’s district judge.

Hader said the county stands by its actions.

Alexander has worked at the justice center twice. Initially, he worked from its inception in 1999 until 2007. He returned in 2011 as the assistant facilities director. Alexander was promoted to co-director in 2012.

He was sharing duties with Dr. Bill Sharp.

“I’m not perfect. I’m not saying I never made mistakes, but that EEOC complaint is bogus,” he said.

Alexander said he is contemplating his next move. He has been in contact with an attorney to determine his options.

“I didn’t want to work anywhere else. I wanted to retire from that place,” he said.

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