Despite signing a contract with a Tulsa investigative firm to look into allegation of harassment at the Gary E. Miller Children’s Justice Center, officials in Canadian County paid more than five times the amount of the original contract.
A June 24 contract with the Laflin Group said the company was to be paid $5,000 for its work, based on $100 per hour, to looking to various allegations, including discrimination, sexual harassment, political intimidation, wrongful termination and possible malfeasance by supervisory personnel.
The agenda item under which the contract was approved cited only an investigation related to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint.
The contract was amended July 3 to allow the Laflin Group to exceed the $5,000 limit.
According to an invoice provided by the Canadian County Clerk’s Office, dated Aug. 31, the county had paid Laflin Groupo $25,877.85 to conduct the investigation. That included service between June 27 and Aug. 14.
In addition, a second invoice was paid totaling $4,311.46.
County Clerk Sherry Murray confirmed the county had paid the Laflin Group $30,189.31.
District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader said he the costs of the investigation were a little higher than expected. However, he felt the county needed a thorough investigation.
“I do think as Mr. Laflin walked through the process, he did a proper job. Our demeanor was that we were going to do what was necessary to research the issue and deliver to the judge the information that he needed to make his decision,” Hader said.
The Laflin Group was hired in June to conduct an independent investigation for the county after an EEOC complaint was filed against the-co-director Bill Alexander.
The complaint had accused Alexander of discrimination.
The results of the EEOC complaint have not been completed. However, the Laflin report was turned over to county officials in mid-August.
County officials have not responded to open records requests for copies of the report filed by the Yukon Review.
Alexander was fired last week by Associate District Judge Bob Hughey.
Hughey announced the firing a in a brief statement.
In the statement, Hughey said he made the decision to terminate Alexander’s employment “only after completing a thorough, deliberative and collaborative process with the Board of County Commissioners, in consultation with the district attorney’s office and outside legal counsel.”
Alexander, who had been on paid administrative leave, said last week that he believes he has been cleared by the EEOC investigation.
“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.