Weekly update — Dec. 25

Commissioner: Investigation wasted county money

Commissioner Dan Stoddard wants it known that he thinks Curry County wasted $4,800 spent on an internal investigation last month over allegations he created a hostile work environment.

Stoddard says he paid a Dallas law firm out of his own pocket to look at conclusions reached by a county consultant. And, Stoddard says, his lawyers determined the consultant was biased.

At a county commisison meeting Tuesday, Stoddard said he wants the report pulled from all county records.

Consultant Dina Holcomb of Management Consultants in Albuquerque was hired by County Attorney Stephen Doerr to determine:

• If a September confrontation between Stoddard and County Manager Lance Pyle created a hostile work environment.

• Whether Pyle “yells, belittles, or otherwise treats County employees in a demeaning manner in front of others” to create a hostile work environment.

The confrontation between the two happened in administration offices in front of employees. Holcomb concluded Stoddard may have created a hostile work environment for county employees for his treatment of Pyle in the confrontation and during public meetings.

Stoddard has repeatedly denied he every yelled at Pyle, as Holcomb charged.

“I didn’t yell,” said Stoddard. “That’s not my demeanor.”

Stoddard’s other problems with the report:

• The report was opinionated, filled with unsubstantiated findings and allegations weren’t thoroughly researched.

• There were no interviews of former county employees who either resigned or were fired.

• All documents associated with the investigation should be made public, not just the consultant’s report.

Saturday, Commissioner Robert Sandoval declined comment. Efforts to reach other commissioners for comment weren’t successful.

— Robin Fornoff