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Schoharie County personnel officer put on paid leave

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Albany/HV: Schoharie County personnel officer put on paid leave
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The Schoharie County personnel officer has been suspended after a report pegged her in the center of workplace harassment allegations. The Board of Supervisors called a special meeting Friday night to discuss the matter. They also released the second of a two part report to the public. As YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, there are now a lot of question marks about what happens next with Cassandra Ethington's position.

SCHOHARIE COUNTY, N.Y. -- Schoharie County personnel officer, Cassandra Ethington, was put on paid leave Friday night after an investigation by a law firm hired by the county found Ethington at the center of workplace harassment allegations.

"I believe in February was when the first half of the report came in and what they eluded to allowed us to move into the second phase," said Philip Skowfoe.

The second of the two part report was released to the public Friday night. In that report, nearly every employee in the Health Department described acts of intimidation by Ethington, when asked about harassment in the office.

Skowfoe said, "What came out of the report is far more than I ever dreamed to see in it."

We spoke with Ethington on the phone. Her attorneys advised her not to comment on the matter, but she told us she is prepared to fight these allegations.

In a statement released by Ethington's attorney, Ethington says in part, "I have never threatened a County employee. I have never harassed or bullied a County employee. I have spent my entire professional career at Schoharie County doing my best to serve the taxpayer and protect the rights of the hard working employees of Schoharie County."

Board of Supervisors Chairman Phil Skowfoe says what happens to Ethington's county position next is at this point unclear.

Skowfoe said, "It's up to the county attorney to set a public hearing and prepare charges for just cause."

Treasurer William Cherry is also looking for justice. The first part of the report released last month found claims Cherry was harassing employees, but the full report shows those allegations were unfounded.

Cherry said, "I feel vindicated that the investigation found no truth to the false accusations that I was one of the public officials who had participated in this dark and shameful period that took place in Schoharie County. I hope that those who made false allegations against me as a part of their own cover up are brought to justice."

If you'd like to read the report, visit www.schohariecounty-ny.gov.

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