ATLANTA - The Montmorency County Board of Commissioners terminated board secretary Candiss VanOverbeke during its Wednesday board meeting. The first indication of discussing the issue was brought up during agenda deletions and additions when Commissioner Brock Baggett added board secretary under new business.
A motion was made by Baggett to terminate the secretary's employment immediately. Baggett was supported by Commissioners Margaret D'Agostino and Stacy Carroll; Bert LaFleche was absent and Daryl Peterson opposed the decision.
With majority of the board voting to terminate VanOverbeke, the secretary position was terminated immediately and VanOverbeke turned in her keys.
"Her services are no longer needed. We're not going to discuss why," Baggett said.
Peterson strongly disagreed and said in his opinion VanOverbeke was a dependable, hard-working employee, and questioned why the decision was made without the presence of the full board.
"We have a quorum, it's good enough," Baggett said.
He made the motion to run a two-week advertisement to find a potential employee to fill the board secretary position. Peterson opposed the motion.
Baggett said former secretary Debbie Nagle will be contacted and hired on Monday at a temporary basis until the board finds a new secretary.
"Everyone was really flabbergasted. I wasn't talked to about this prior to today, but I have a feeling I know why it happened. It was part of my job as secretary to check on things like bills and per diems," VanOverbeke said. "Brock and I did disagree and butt heads, but we usually talked things through. I'm just surprised Margaret and Stacy went along with it when they've both told me how great of a job I'm doing, but they do what they're told."
LaFleche, who found out about the termination after the meeting, said VanOverbeke did an excellent job and he was shocked to hear she was let go.
"Why anyone would let her go is beyond me, I just can't believe it. I didn't know anything about this before today. I'm upset about the decision that was made," LaFleche said. "I don't know where this came from or why."
VanOverbeke said she was in shock and was expecting an explanation. At this time she is unsure of her next course of action, but she said she is not ruling out lawsuits.
"We'll see what happens next. It wasn't just Brock's decision, Stacy and Margaret supported it too. An explanation would have been nice, but I guess he feels it's not needed," VanOverbeke said. "I was there to help the county get straightened out. Problems arose when I started questioning things."
Carroll said VanOverbeke was an at-will employee whose services were no longer needed. Carroll also said board rules state the board chairman runs day-to-day operations, and it was the board secretary's job to assist the chair with daily operations.
"If the chair wants her terminated, I'm with the chair," D'Agostino said.
"I do not comment on stupidity by other board members," Peterson said.
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