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Showing posts with label Cassandra Ethington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cassandra Ethington. Show all posts

Ethington Decision Expected September 22nd

Written By Editor on 9/9/14 | 9/9/14

Two weeks from today, the Ethington saga may be over. According to the County Board of Supervisors, the next hearing date of September 22nd should be the last. The hearing is taking place at the County Courthouse at 6pm and is open to the public.

The decision will be made by the remaining 8 Supervisors on the ad hoc jury in an unweighted vote. Five votes or more are needed to convict, or find not guilty. A tie would result in a mistrial. The Supervisors making the decision are Buzon (Middleburgh), Bleau (Wright), McAllister (Cobleskill), Federice (Conesville), Smith (Blenheim), Smith (Broome), VanGlad (Gilboa), and VanWormer (Esperance). There is no indication yet on how the Supervisor will vote. There has been extensive questioning by the special prosecutor and the defense attorney.

If Ethington is found not guilty, she will serve out her remaining contract, which will not expire for three years. It is unclear if she would physically return to the office or serve at home.

Ethington Trial to Resume Tuesday

Written By Editor on 7/21/14 | 7/21/14


Schoharie County's trial of suspended Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington will resume on Tuesday evening after a two week break in the hearings, which recessed on Thursday July 10th, after proceedings stalled out on only the second witness. 

The hearings were originally scheduled for three nights, but the county's timeline was greatly altered by a six hour cross-examination conducted by the defense attorney of Schoharie County Labor Attorney Mary Roach, who is seen as a key witness in the county's case. 

Tuesday's proceedings will be held at 6:00 p.m. on the third floor of the Schoharie County Courthouse.

Trial Adjourns Until July 22: Day Three

Written By Editor on 7/11/14 | 7/11/14


For more information: please view our coverage of day one and day two of proceedings. 

Schoharie County's long awaited trial on suspended Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington's fate resumed in earnest Thursday evening with defense attorney Ron Dunn continuing his three day long cross-examination of County Labor Attorney Mary Roach.

His questioning remained essentially unchanged from the previous two days, as he returned to Ms. Roach's testimony from Tuesday night and reviewed a laundry list of emails, documents, and other evidence in the haphazard manner that has come to define his style of conduct. 

Shortly before 8:00 p.m., after six hours of extensive back and forth between the two attorneys, Mr. Dunn rested on the defense's behalf and ended his lengthy three day long cross-examination of Ms. Roach, who had originally been scheduled to testify only for a single evening. 

Moving forward with the long stalled proceedings, special prosecutor Michael McDermott called Barb Schaffer, Deputy Personnel Officer, to testify on Ms. Ethington's alleged role in the County Public Health Department following the previous director's resignation in 2010.

However, with nightfall upon the chamber, the third day of hearings was wrapped up and the trial was put on temporary hiatus, where they will resume proceedings on Tuesday, July 22 at the Schoharie County Courthouse. There is no currently scheduled end date for the trial. 

Jordan Excused From Trial: Day Two

Written By Editor on 7/10/14 | 7/10/14


Our coverage of day one's proceedings can be found here

Schoharie County reconvened its ongoing trial/hearing against suspended Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington into day two Wednesday evening, where defense attorney Ron Dunn continued his questioning of County Labor Attorney Mary Roach from Tuesday night. 

But not before one Supervisor was removed from the panel selected to sit in judgment of Ms. Ethington. 

Meeting for thirty minutes behind closed doors, members of the panel voted to excuse Jefferson Supervisor Sean Jordan from their deliberations. Jordan, visibly upset at the decision, was excluded because the defense planned to cite his own previous lawsuit filed against the county in 2012 for wrongful termination. 

With Jordan's exclusion, the panel was reduced to only eight supervisors: Ms. Bleau of Wright, Mr. Buzon of Middleburgh, Mr. McAllister of Cobleskill, Mr. Federice of Conesville, Mr. Smith of Blenheim, Mr. Smith of Broome, Mr. VanGlad of Gilboa, and Mr. VanWormer of Esperance. 

Mr. Dunn resumed questioning of Ms. Roach by revisiting the Gigandet and Grimes lawsuits, but when he began querying the labor attorney on the Jordan case special prosecutor Michael McDermott objected to it as irrelevant, which Mr. VanGlad sustained, and the defense was barred from further mentioning it. 

The mostly full courtroom would subsequently be confined to approximately two hours of back and forth, at points contentious, exchanges between Mr. Dunn and Ms. Roach as the defense pursued several lines of seemingly unrelated questioning on Ms. Roach's testimony offered on Tuesday. 

As Mr. Dunn's cross-examination passed the four hour mark shortly after nine, the second day of hearings were concluded with Ms. Roach scheduled to return for a third day of testimony Thursday evening. County officials had scheduled the trial for three days, but with the hearing stalled on the first witness, it may have to be extended into next week.

Proceedings will commence once more on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. on the third floor of the Schoharie County Courthouse, where the defense will further continue its questioning of Ms. Roach, and subsequent witnesses will be called if time allows. 

Ethington Trial Begins: Day One

Written By Editor on 7/9/14 | 7/9/14


Schoharie County's long awaited disciplinary trial/hearings on the fate of suspended Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington kicked off Tuesday night, setting the tone for what might be a rather lengthy and inquisitive exchange between the prosecution and defense attorney.

County Attorney Michael West initiated the proceedings by explaining the parameters, before recusing himself. Joanne Darcy Crum was named as special counsel in Mr. West's place, while Michael McDermott stood for the prosecution and Ron Dunn represented Ms. Ethington. 

Seven Supervisors were included on the witness list, excluding them from hearing additional testimony or casting a final vote on the embattled Personal Director's fate, leaving the remaining nine as jury of the case. 

Among those excluded were Mr. Barbic of Seward, Mr. Bradt of Carlisle, Mr. Lape of Richmondville, Ms. Manko of Sharon, Mr. Milone of Schoharie, Mr. Skowfoe of Fulton, and Mr. Vroman of Seward. All six freshmen legislators in addition to Mr. Buzon, Mr. VanGlad and Mr. VanWormer remained. 

The prosecution opened Tuesday's hearing by calling Schoharie County Labor Attorney Mary Roach to testify on Ms. Ethington's conduct during two lawsuits brought by Eva Gigandet and Penny Grimes in April of 2012. Mr. Jordan was barred from speaking, due to a similar suit he filed at the same time. 

Both lawsuits had contended that Ms. Ethington assumed control of the County Public Health Department in the aftermath of the previous director's resignation, allegations that Ms. Roach testified were denied in response to Ms. Gigandet's and Grimes lawsuits, as directed by the Personnel Director. 

Mr. McDermott then presented Ms. Roach with a series of documents, emails, and portions of the Fitzmaurice Report, in which Ms. Ethington was either referred to or credited herself as the interim department head of Public Health. Ms. Roach would later state the information had been withheld from her.

Upon the prosecution's rest, Mr. Dunn arose and queried Ms. Roach on the code of conduct lawyers are sworn to abide on, including the acknowledgment of submitting false information over the course of a trial, which Ms. Roach testified she did not do in regards to either the Gigandet or Grimes cases. 

Mr. Dunn would later query Ms. Roach on an email exchange between herself, Ms. Ethington, Mr. West, and then Personnel Committee Chairman Dan Singletary, in which she offered the comments that Ethington should, "hang in there," because, "this is a piece of garbage lawsuit." The hearing would then be adjourned. 

Proceedings will resume Wednesday night, 6:00 p.m. at the Schoharie County Courthouse. 

Opinion: Time to Can Ethington

Written By Editor on 7/8/14 | 7/8/14


The time for justice has come. 

Over eight months have passed since the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted to suspend Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington indefinitely with pay for her role in fostering intimidation and mis-conduct in the county workplace, as revealed by the controversial Fitzmaurice Report

Several Supervisors would soon after lose their seats on the county board for their role in the scandal.

Now, with three evenings of hearings scheduled to decide Mrs. Ethington's fate starting tonight at the Schoharie County Court House, it is time for the embattled Personnel Director to follow her Conservative Party cohorts out the door, and pursue gainful employment off of the taxpayers dime. 

We are sure to see the familiar evidence presented by both sides for Supervisors (who are serving as the jury in these hearings) to consider in reaching their final decision, but the facts are documented and well known for all to see, whether it be the dismissal of public employees or her takeover of the Health Department. 

Mrs. Ethington's actions are beyond redemption and her acceptance back into the Personnel Office would only destroy what progress has been made in restoring the confidence and faith of the county work force in their public employment. Faith that was so badly scarred and brutalized under her "reign of terror." 

However, this isn't just about the morale of county employees, but rather the integrity of county government in not only moving past the heartache caused by its Personnel Director, as great as it was, but in its commitment to cleansing our government of corruption, illegality, and destructive personal agendas.

None of which can be accomplished until the champion of all the above is found guilty of her crimes, and in a sense of cruel irony, rightfully terminated by the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors at the conclusion of this week's trial, where she will finally taste a spoonful of her own medicine as she sees her way out. 

The choice is simple: it's time to can Ethington

Ethington Hearing Set for Early July

Written By Editor on 6/24/14 | 6/24/14


Following the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors vote to take disciplinary action on suspended Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington at the May county board meeting, a series of three days has been set aside for legislators to consider the future of the department head.

Kicking off on July 8th and lasting through the 10th, Supervisors will meet over three evenings at 5:00 p.m. each night to hear the case against and in defense of Mrs. Ethington in what outside observers are calling a "trial by committee." 

Mrs. Ethington has been suspended with pay by the county board since the second part of the controversial Fitzmaurice Report was released in early November. The investigative report allegedly uncovered widespread misconduct and employee intimidation originating from Ethington's office.

No Supervisors offered comment on the upcoming hearing, stating that they were barred from offering official statements at this time, due to the nature of serving in a position where they will have a final say on what, if any, actions will be taken against the Personnel Officer.

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