Insurance to pay sheriff settlement
Following a joint executive session Monday evening, the Harrison County Board of Commissioners and County Council held a joint special public meeting in which their counsel for the Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick sexual harassment case, Jeremy M. Dilts, made a public statement concerning the litigation.
Dilts said no money has been requested from the county to fund or reimburse any of the agreed upon amount of $375,500 for dispatcher Deana Decker and former dispatcher Melissa Graham.
The county will have to pay only the insurance deductible as well as for an EEO monitor, but it has not been requested to do so as of yet.
In addition to the settlement, all employees of the sheriff’s department are to take part in an EEO seminar that shall be no less than two hours of instruction. Three seminars will be held before May 2011.
Dilts said again, nothing has been asked monetarily of the county for the seminars, but it will be invoiced for the monitoring program ‘when the time comes.’
Emphasizing that the sheriff, the council and commissioners deny any civil or criminal wrongdoing or liability, Dilts said the county had been prepared to take the case through trial. He also said that, to his knowledge, no personal assets of the sheriff will be involved in the settlement.
‘He’s insured under the same liability,’ Dilts said. ‘He receives the benefit of that liability.’
Commissioner Terry Miller said he was pleased with the settlement and that the county was following the legal advice given.
‘That’s what they instructed us to do,’ he said.
Miller said, ‘You’re taking a chance’ to continue the case through a trial.
‘It was better to just go ahead and settle it,’ he said.
Following the joint executive session, the council held its regular meeting and unanimously approved $5 million from three different funds for the government facility project at the old hospital.
The $13 million to $15 million government complex will transform the two medical office buildings and the newest wing of the old hospital into government office space.
The total approved Monday night included $2 million out of the cumulative capital development fund, $2 million out of the Harrison County Economic Development fund and $1 million out of the cumulative courthouse fund.
Another $1 million will be taken out of the county’s community fund and the bulk of the project ($9 million) will be paid for by the Harrison County Community Foundation. The county intends to pay the figure back to the Foundation.
The council also heard a request from the commissioners for just more than $391,000 for Harrison County’s portion of the Milltown bridge project.
Commissioner James Goldman said a past agreement with Crawford County led to the payment breakdown of 60 percent for Harrison and 40 percent for Crawford. He said construction on the bridge is scheduled to begin July 1.
The additional appropriation, which the council will vote on at its next meeting, will be the final amount of the county’s commitment to the project, Goldman said.
The council’s next meeting will be Monday, July 13, at 7 p.m.