EUGENE, Ore. — The Lane County administrator’s decision to step down is prompting the Lane County Board of Commissioners to investigate the situation.
The relatively private issue became public earlier this week when Liane Richardson released a string of e-mails to the media about the reasoning behind her decision to take leave.
Richardson was nowhere to be seen during Tuesday’s meeting, which seemed fairly routine, but it wasn’t long though before word came out about why.
Richardson emailed the board of commissioners saying “I want to bring a serious issue to your attention.”
According to Richardson, she’d been converting her paid vacation, sick leave and deferred compensation to immediate payments. And when an employee had questioned the matter, it was discovered she’d exceeded the maximum amount for the year.
Commissioners say they’re weren’t expecting this to happen.
“Obviously a little surprised but we understand that’s the nature of the business,” said Sid Leiken, Lane County BOC Chair.
Richardson’s email went on to state, “the employee feels she is at risk of losing her job if she makes these concerns public.”
The commissioners held a two-hour executive session Wednesday morning to discuss just what exactly they planned to do about the matter.
“After the executive session, our county counsel Steve Dingle is going to oversee an outside organization to come in and do a thorough investigation of what transpired based on the media reports from yesterday (Tuesday), and then we’ll just take it from there,” Leiken said.
Until the investigation is done and a decision on disciplinary action is made, Richardson said she would remain on leave, stating, “I am truly sorry for this. I have worked very hard to change the perception of the county in the public eye, and depending upon how this unfolds, it may do the opposite.” So commissioners are asking for the public’s patience and understanding.
“The county is going to continue to provide quality services for our community throughout Lane County that’s the part I’m very confident about, and we just need to go through the process,” Leiken said.
The matter will remain in private executive sessions until the investigation is complete. When exactly that will be is still being determined, but commissioners are pushing counsel to get it taken care of as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.