Former commissioner sues county for records on fired administrator

Former commissioner sues county for records on fired administrator

EUGENE, Ore. -  Former Lane County Commissioner Bill Fleenor is filing a lawsuit against the county in an attempt to gain full access to a report on an investigation into the conduct of the former county administrator.

Fleenor said the county is violating state open records laws by literally blacking out a majority of a 29-page report into  former County Administrator Liane Richardson’s tenure.

“What I saw in the document? Entire pages were blacked out. Not one verb was left," Fleenor said.

Fleenor and his attorney Daniel Stotter told reporters in front of the Lane County Courthouse on Monday that the documents could reveal that sitting County Commissioners were more involved with Richardson's conduct than they've admitted.

The Commissioners voted unanimously in August to dismiss Richardson after discovering she had been cashing out vacation and sick time at a higher rate than allowed under county rules.

Richardson and the county parted ways in September under an agreement holding each other harmless.

With an election coming up, he thinks voters will want to know what the report found.

“This type of scheme is not hatched in a vacuum,” Fleenor said. “The leadership of the board should have been aware of this, and by them saying they aren't responsible, and that they can't be held responsible, makes me believe that they are really hiding from the truth themselves.

Stotter said what was released did not reveal any new information that wasn’t already released to the public before the investigation.

“Contained virtually no facts, no results, and that is the copy that they previously released to the public,” Stotter said. “They refuse to give us any new material that we didn't already have.”

Stotter said one of the reasons he has been told so much redacting took place in the report is that the county wanted to protect whistleblowers who pointed out Richardson’s alleged misconduct to board members.
Stotter said he isn’t after specific names but specific actions.

“If we need to protect the whistleblowers names, that's OK,” he said. “We want to know how this happened, what's involved. The whistleblowers names is not the key issue.”

NewsSource 16 requested a comment from current board of Lane County Commission chairman Patt Farr.

“Since there is pending litigation there is really nothing I can say about it,” Farr said. “A lot of it has already been talked about in the news already, but it is new litigation, and I'm ham-stringed as to what I can really say about it at all.”