Top 2 Lane County Public Works leaders resign after probe finds 'violations of policy'

Lane County organizational chart

EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County has accepted the resignations of the director and assistant director of the Public Works department after an investigation found "violations of policy that were also inconsistent with our values and the expectations of our leaders," the county administrator wrote in a letter to county employees Tuesday.

The Public Works department handles waste management, roads, parks, animal services and other duties.

Director Tim Elsea and assistant director Petra Schuetz submitted their resignations and went on paid administrative leave on December 21.

Their resignation will take effect January 2, 2018.

"There are no severance or separation payments for either person," county spokesperson Devon Ashbridge said.

Dan Hurley, who leads the waste management division, was named interim director on Tuesday, Ashbridge said.

Lane County had no comment on the findings of the investigation.

The executive summary of the report, obtained via a public records request, shows the investigator found that Elsea and Schuetz had "engaged in a personal relationship in violation of the Lane County Public Works Fraternization & Nepotism policy."

Steve Mokrohiksy, the county administrator, shared the news with employees Tuesday in an email. (Full text below)

Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 10:54 AM
Subject: Leadership changes at Public Works
Importance: High
Dear Public Works employees,
Last week I accepted the resignations of Tim Elsea and Petra Schuetz. This action followed a formal investigation that was conducted by a third party investigator over the past two weeks. I became aware of an allegation of violations of policy on December 5 and took immediate steps to determine the validity of the allegation. While the investigation revealed no criminal conduct, there were violations of policy that were also inconsistent with our values and the expectations of our leaders.
Please know that my decision to accept their resignations was not easy, and was reached as a result of thorough evaluation of the facts, thoughtful consideration of the available options and a commitment to the long term best interests of the department and organization. This decision was difficult for me both personally and professionally, as I like and respect both individuals.
I imagine this news is unsettling to you. I want to express my support for the great work that Public Works leadership and staff have done and continue to do. I fully support the direction of the department over the past year to create a unified and cohesive team, focused on a common vision and supporting each other in achieving important goals. There is so much great work happening to enhance services to our residents, responsibly manage resources, and attract and retain talented employees. This work will continue under the leadership of Dan Hurley, who I have appointed to serve as interim Director. I have the utmost confidence in Dan, the division managers and staff in Public Works.
Dan and I will be available on site to listen to and discuss this issue with employees this Tuesday and Wednesday. We want to hear your thoughts, concerns and ideas. Please check with your supervisor, if necessary, to attend one of the following meetings:
Tuesday, December 26, at 2:00 p.m. in the Goodson Room, PW Delta Campus
Tuesday, December 26, at 5:00 p.m. at the Glenwood Transfer Station break room
Wednesday, December 27, at 7:00 a.m. in the Goodson Room, PW Delta Campus
Thank you again for the outstanding work you do every day on behalf of our organization and community.
Steve Mokrohisky
County Administrator
Lane County, Oregon

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