The Pryor Times

October 16, 2013

County commissioners discuss county lawsuits

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — The Mayes County Commissioners ad-dressed two wrongful termination lawsuits at the meeting Monday. Marie Alexander was present to explain one of the suits.

“This situation is about four years old, there have been four administrators, two assistant district attorneys and two county clerks since then,” said Alexander who provided the commissioners with documentation and a synopsis of the situation.

Alexander said the Health Department hired an interpreter in 2009 on an eight-month contract.

“She was let go for poor performance with three months left,” said Alexander.

The employee filed a wrongful termination suit and is suing for the the pay should would have received in those three months. Alexander said the settlement is approximately $9,500 and that she needs settlement documents from the commissioners to send to the state risk management department.

“It's my understanding she was terminated and no one came to us to request it,” said Commissioner Alva Martin.

Alexander said she operated under the advisement of the county clerk at the time and followed the suggested course of action given her by the clerk.

“I think it's bad you guys can terminate someone without our consent but we have to pay it,” said Martin.

“I understand. We find it frustrating that a settlement can be made on behalf of a terminated employee and we were not aware of it until we saw in the newspaper it had been filed,” said Alexander.

The commissioners agreed to give Alexander their cooperation moving forward.

During the morning meeting Martin announced another lawsuit.

“Charles Williams is suing us and the sheriff's office,” said Martin. “We will forward this letter from his attorney on to the district attorney.”

Williams was an employee of the Mayes County Sheriff's Office, where he worked at the jail.

According to Martin, Williams said he was off work on medical leave and when he returned found himself out of a job.

Martin stated that another employee has filed a worker’s compensation suit as well.  

The commissioners approved the sheriff’s request to junk some broken items. Sheriff Mike Reed welcomed the commissioners to come view the items, but said the items are primarily electronics. He said he did not find all of the items on the inventory list, but he is documenting the ones he finds.

Bids were opened for bunker gear for Adair Fire Department. The commissioners received two bids for the gear, coats and pants. The bids, $1,415 or $1,326, and will be reviewed by the Adair Fire Department.