Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Whitman County fires payroll clerk for misuse of county property, overtime pay"

A story in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News detailed the conclusion of the Frank White case. This investigation led to rumors of a coverup that local Democrats circulated before the election to try and smear Eunice Coker. Obviously, in a matter sensitive as this, Eunice had to be very cautious in what she said publicly.
Whitman County Auditor Eunice Coker fired the county’s payroll clerk last month for alleged misuse of county property and reporting overtime hours he didn’t work.

Frank White was fired Dec. 19 after an eight-month internal investigation.

White, who could not be reached for comment, had until Tuesday to file a grievance over his dismissal.

According to an internal report obtained by the Daily News through a public records request, Coker found that White downloaded sexually explicit and pornographic images, logged overtime hours he did not work and used the county’s network to post derogatory and inappropriate messages about co-workers.

Coker placed White on administrative leave April 7 after the county found evidence that he had downloaded and printed numerous sexually explicit images.

According to the report, the county began monitoring White’s computer after Coker verbally warned him that county property was not intended for personal use on July 25, 2005.

The county installed a video camera to monitor White and his activities at work and remotely monitored his Internet actions.

The report on White’s Internet activity contained screen shots of Web sites and chat rooms he allegedly visited. Coker said many other examples were found but not included in her report.

Using the Internet or computer programs for personal use without permission from a department head is against county policy.

Coker also said White logged overtime hours that she could not verify throughout November 2005 and February 2006.

Coker said White was given the opportunity to make a rebuttal against being placed on leave but declined to do so.

“The evidence we found concerning the investigation proved to be true,” Coker said. “Up until this started, Frank was a consistent and efficient employee.

“He has expressed remorse for what he has done and is working to change.”

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said the county does not plan to pursue criminal charges against White.

No comments: