Allegations of discrimination probed

The Upshur County Commission has retained an outside attorney to look into allegations of discriminatory actions by an unidentified employee.

“Given the sensitive nature of such investigations, all reports and information obtained will be confidential, and the press will be informed once a final outcome has been determined,” a news release issued by the county commission stated.

The commissioners are scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Thursday with attorney Timothy Stranko in a closed-door, executive session to review the matter.

Stranko is the same attorney the commissioners retained to represent them following the filing of a lawsuit by former sheriff’s candidate David Taylor alleging his opponent in the race, Chief Deputy Mike Kelley, was in violation of the federal Hatch Act because of his overseeing of grant-funded programs.

The announcement comes about a week after the commissioners and Sheriff Dave Coffman met in a special county commission meeting, which was conducted in executive session. Coffman, while not discussing the specifics of the meeting, said it was decided then to initiate the investigation into the complaint.

Coffman would not confirm nor deny if the matter involved an employee under his supervision. He also declined to say who initiated the allegations, another employee or if the complaint came from an outside source.

“Right now, I can’t comment because it’s a personnel issue, and it’s an ongoing investigation,” he said. “We are in the middle of the stream, and it would not be appropriate to discuss it right now.”

Coffman said he and the commissioners expect to receive the results of the investigation by the May 9 meeting of the Upshur County Commission.

“Once the law firm completes its investigation,” Coffman said, “I will be in a position to answer questions.”

Assistant county administrator Megan Pomeroy declined to comment on the specific nature of the alleged discriminatory actions, and she could not discuss what events may have prompted the investigation.

“Unfortunately, I cannot speak to anything other than what was in the press release,” she said.