Lane County is being close-mouthed over today’s vote to fire embattled now-former County Administrator Liane Richardson after a whistleblower called attention to apparently unauthorized changes that Richardson had made to her pay. Here is the letter that Board Chair Sid Leiken sent out to county employees.
Dear County Employees,
Two weeks ago, I wrote you that County Administrator Liane Richardson had placed herself on administrative leave after issues surrounding her compensation were brought to the attention of the Board of Commissioners, County Counsel and Human Resources. Today, I am writing to let you know that the Board of County Commissioners voted this morning in a public session to terminate Ms. Richardson’s employment with cause pursuant to section 1.1(c) of her contract of employment.
The Board took this action after the following steps were taken:
1. The Board directed County Counsel Stephen Dingle to oversee the hiring of an independent and outside agency to investigate issues regarding Ms. Richardson’s compensation.
2. The thorough, independent investigation was conducted over the past week and a half, finalized, and delivered to the Board of Commissioners last Friday.
3. The Board discussed the independent investigators’ report in executive session this morning.
The firm hired to do the investigation, USO Consulting, completed a comprehensive investigation into the issues. The investigation was done with the utmost urgency but also with careful consideration for the confidentiality of the process. All comments involved in the investigation are confidential and will be protected to the greatest extent permitted by law. We will protect the rights of any County employee who brings up issues of concern to our attention without any retribution.
After discussion with legal counsel, and out of respect of the rights of all individuals involved, we cannot make additional statements or release additional information at this time. Once the due process rights of the individuals involved have been honored, we will release additional information as permitted by law.
In the coming days, you may read speculation in the media about this issue. While we understand the interest of the public for transparency, and the media’s interest in getting a story, we also respect the rights of the individuals involved who brought this issue to the attention of the Board. We will defend the confidentiality of their comments.
If you have concerns or are contacted by the media, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the Board members, acting County Administrator Alicia Hays, Madilyn Zike or our Public Information Officer, Anne Marie Levis. Anne Marie may be reached at 541-915-4659. Our public information officer will direct media inquires as appropriate to ensure the media have the proper facts and understanding of the issues.
All of our employees have and continue to show incredible dedication to our community. I am proud of the work we do serving Lane County residents.