Hearn denies discipline for credit card misuse

Tue, 07/08/2008 - 4:16pm
By: John Thompson

County Commission candidate and former Fayette County Public Works Director Lee Hearn is refuting charges of wrongdoing during his tenure in Fayette County.

The charges were leveled by former County Commission Chairman Harold Bost in a letter to The Citizen submitted this week.

“It is suspected that the underlying reason they fired (former administrator) Chris (Venice) was that she gave Lee Hearn an unsatisfactory performance review as head of the Road Department. Lee had been written up for failure to provide adequate supervision, failure to oversee compliance with county procedure that compromises departmental operation; third written reprimand,” wrote Bost.

Hearn admitted that he did have differences with Venice, but said he was never reprimanded three times. He couldn’t speak on why Venice was fired, but did detail why he left Fayette County.

“We all like challenges, and I thought the opportunity in Henry County would provide a different opportunity,” he said.

Bost also claims that Hearn violated the county credit card use policy.

“The report is that he swiped the county credit card 22 times to pay for a $38,178 job on which he did not obtain the required competitive bids. County policy is that $2,000 is the maximum authorized to be charged at any one time,” Bost said.

“I never swiped the card 22 times. It’s just not true,“ Hearn said. He added but that if he was misusing the card, some sort of reprimand would have occurred.

“The forensic audit of the card showed that I did nothing wrong. (Former county administrator) Chris Cofty was let go because of his misuse of the card, said Hearn.

Hearn said he’s tried to keep the campaign positive and is trying to get his platform out to the people. Some of his ideas include

• Support transportation initiatives.

• Support tax dollar management.

• Support smart growth.

• Support law enforcement.

• Support emergency services

• Support municipal partners.

“I want to continue the spirit of cooperation that I had when I was at the public works department,” said Hearn.

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Submitted by Save Fayette on Wed, 07/09/2008 - 5:27pm.

. Harold Bost, Greg Done and Pee Pee Phifer have hit an all time low.
They have managed to get personal files that only Chris Venice would
Have known about and are trying to make a reason up to keep Pee Pee
In office. If Hearn had done something wrong in his use of a credit card
Their should be something in his file. But they did not find anything like that
Because I know he did not misuse his authority. I am sure that a department
Head will have many transactions on their company credit cards. You guys are a
Joke. Try some better than personal attacks.

Peter Pfeifer's picture
Submitted by Peter Pfeifer on Tue, 07/08/2008 - 5:32pm.

I have read the comments by Mr. Bost and Mr. Hearn. I sent copies of two documents to the local newspapers; Citizen, Daily & Front Page.

The first is a copy of a written reprimand from Chris Venice to Mr. Hearn regarding the changing of time/pay records. It notes that this is the “Third written reprimand” I have not seen the other two.

The second is one page of the records from Mr. Hearn’s P-Card Program. The other pages can be obtained from the County Finance Department. I am sending just one because the copies do not scan very well, also it is 14 pages long.

My concern about Lee’s actions as a Department Head leads to concern about his becoming a County Commissioner.

He was placed in a position of trust and responsibility. He failed to live up to that. He violated County Policy and common sense as a Department Head regarding the County policy on P-Cards (Purchasing Cards) by swiping/using his P-Card 22 times over a 9 month period to pay a contractor $38,178.00 for striping county roads. This contractor should have been retained by bid with a contract and paid through the County Purchasing Department like any other vendor, which Mr. Hearn certainly should have known.

His defense may be that the former County Administrator told him to do so. As a Department Head, Mr. Hearn could have, and should have, gone over the Administrators head and spoken directly with the County Commissioners regarding the misuse of the P-Card. Mr. Hearn chose to go against County Policy and obey his superior.

Mr. Hearn says, “ Former County Administrator Chris Cofty was let go because of his misuse of the card”. The truth? Mr. Cofty may have also misused his own card, but for this Commissioner, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the outrageous $38,178.00 on Mr. Hearn’s card.

I believe that both of them should have known better. This is why the program was ended at that time. We rely(ed) on Department Heads and the Administrator to manage the program. If we couldn’t trust them to manage their own cards, how could we expect that they would manage their subordinates’ cards?

In the incident involving the changing of County pay records, Mr. Hearn was again put to the test. In that case, he chose to ignore the serious nature of his subordinate’s behavior and to go against the request from his superior.

Two incidents, two occasions for Mr. Hearn to act responsibly and in support of taxpayers policy and money. Two times that Mr. Hearn chose to violate County Policy, once by the direction of the Administrator and once against the direction of another Administrator.

What is common to both incidents is that Mr. Hearn chose to violate county policy and the trust that was placed in him by the citizens of Fayette County.

Peter Pfeifer
County Commission, Post 3

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