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The most visible outward signs of personnel issues within Los Alamos County government revolve around the seeming ongoing churn in county administrators. However, the tentacles that point to a trend appear to extend well beyond the county’s top spot.
Several other senior county employees also have transferred, quit or been terminated in the recent past.
• Former County Attorney Peter Dwyer was the subject of an independent investigation and is no longer with the county.
• An “assistant to the county administrator” position was created for Regina Wheeler who headed up the county’s waste management services. An investigation into a side business she had resulted in her sudden departure before she could ever take the new job.
• An investigation and EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) hearing resulted in former Human Resources Manager Sheryl Hofer transferring to a position with the Los Alamos Fire Department.
• Community Services Director Stephani Johnson is currently in the midst of an EEOC hearing revolving around a gender bias issue.
• County Economic Vitality Manager Scott Frederick is the most recent county employee to be cut loose. He lost his job shortly before Thanksgiving after just seven months in the position.
In a brief memo to council members and his staff dated Nov. 15, County Administrator Tony Mortillaro said, “Just wanted to let you know that Scott Frederick, economic vitality manager, is no longer an employee of this organization. The recruitment for this position will be commenced once the paperwork is finalized. No other information will be made available due to the personnel nature of this matter.”
Mortillaro said Tuesday that because it was a personnel matter, he couldn’t go into details as to why Frederick was fired. He also mentioned that he is contemplating whether to pursue new candidates to fill the position after all.
“I’m evaluating whether to post the job, I want to have a discussion with council about our economic development services. We used to have a contract with the LACDC, (Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation) but that ended and we went out for an RFP (Request For Proposal). I’d like to talk with council before making a decision on this.”
Frederick filled the newly created economic development position April 19. He has declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding his separation from the county post.
County Attorney Randy Autio said, “He was terminated. Because it was a termination, he has the right to file a claim if he so chooses – he has not done so yet.”