Commissioners deny request for redacted report

An open records request by the Yukon Review for a redacted copy of an investigative report that lead to the termination of the co-director of the Gary E. Miller Children’s Justice Center was denied Monday by the Canadian County commissioners.

District 2 Commissioner Dave Anderson and District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart voted against releasing an independent investigation into allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment, political intimidation, wrongful termination and malfeasance by any supervisory personnel in the performance at the center.

The two commissioners cited the investigation as a confidential report that is part of a personnel file.

District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader voted against making the file permanently confidential.

The report into allegations of harassment was requested in June after a former employee of the justice center filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission citing harassment and wrongful termination.

Hader said that he didn’t want to rule out eventually releasing the report, but did not want to do so while the EEOC investigation is ongoing.

The Yukon Review filed a request for the report through the Oklahoma Open Records law, indicating that a redacted version would not harm any employees who were interviewed by the private investigation firm because their names would not be included.

The request was filed Oct. 9.

Stewart said he had concerns about the confidentiality of employees, both past and present, who were interviewed by the investigator.

“I am afraid to do it with the fact that it’s got so much personnel information in there. I don’t think there would be any particular good with the results of the report being made public, Stewart said.

Stewart said redacting the report, which is more than 300 pages, would be a difficult task.

“Redacted is a good idea, but it is so thick. I feel like we have a responsibility to the county. It would not be in the best interest to (release) the report. It’s not that we don’t want the citizens to know,” Stewart said.

He also said the basis for the report, harassment, had already been released.

Meanwhile, Anderson said it is the commissioners’ responsibility “to do what is best for this county and to protect the county government.”

Anderson said the investigation was necessary, and the only way the investigation could be completed was by guaranteeing confidentiality of those involved.

“Our ability to conduct an investigation hinges upon the level of expectation of confidentiality,” he said. “I think it would be in the best interest of Canadian County to declare this investigation a matter of confidential record and not release it as a document for public review.”

The county paid more than $30,000 to the Laflin Investigative Group to conduct the investigation.

Dave Alexander, who was the co-director of the center, was placed on paid leave in mid-June after the complaint was originally filed with the EEOC.

Associate District Judge Bob Hughey, who was Alexander’s supervisor, fired him Oct. 2.

Alexander has continually denied that he harassed the employee who filed the EEOC claim.

He said he believes the EEOC already has cleared him of the allegation.

However, he said that he did make an earlier mistake and thought that he already had been punished for it. That incident, he said, is why he was fired.

Attempts to contact Hughey have been unsuccessful.

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