( 2 Votes )

In March 2012, the Board of Supervisors shocked the county when it decided to fire five department heads.
At the time, Cunningham Supervisor Don Weaver asked Fluvanna Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip to make sure no criminal statutes had been violated by the fired employees.
The State Police finished its investigation – which included a state police forensic accountant examining the county’s books – a few months ago. Haislip presented the findings to the Board in a closed session, he said this week.
No charges will be filed, Haislip said.
Board Chairman Shaun Kenney confirmed the Board heard the results of the investigation in closed session.
“That’s all we can say. We couldn’t discuss it (in public)” Kenney said.
When personnel matters are discussed in closed session, the information is not available to the public.
On March 14, 2012, the Board voted 3 – 2 to fire then Planning Director Darren Coffey, Public Works Director John Robins, Parks and Recreation Director Dwight Godwin, Finance Director Renee Hoover and Human Resources Director Brandy Amos.
“It was not a comfortable decision to make,” Kenney said at the time. “But it is the right one for Fluvanna and the right one to improve the integrity of this government.”
The week before the vote, during the Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisors met in closed session for several hours before resuming an open meeting and taking three actions: to relieve Coffey of his interim county administrator duties, rescind all raises and put a letter of reprimand in the personnel files of all department heads involved in the raises.
An investigation by the Fluvanna Review shortly after the firings showed 41 employees received the raises – most went into effect in October 2012, while seven employees waited until Jan. 2012 to get a raise. Employees in public works, administration, finance, human resources, information technology and facilities and planning received a total of more than $25,000 between Oct. 14 and March 7 when the board rescinded the raises. The raises came about after Coffey was named interim director in November 2011 when Jay Scudder resigned. Coffey did not tell the Board about the raises. Coffey was the only department head that did not get a raise. Records show Coffey made $40.50 per hour with the additional stipend of $12.86 per hour once he took over county administrator duties.
Kenney said an employee who received a raise told the Board after the employee’s conscience bothered him or her.
Shortly after the mass firings, the Board hired Steve Nichols as county administrator. Nichols filled the vacant department head positions with people who are still working the jobs today, except for Planning Director Allyson Finchum, who left last month to become the director of community development in Louisa.