County Manager: HR director fired for ‘gross negligence’

Published: Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 08:07 AM.

CHIPLEY — County Human Resources Director Heather Finch was fired for being “grossly negligent” and unethical in her job duties, according to a letter signed by County Manager Steve Joyner.

The letter is dated Feb. 26, and was hand delivered to Finch. The Washington County News obtained a copy of the letter following a request for public documents under the state Sunshine Law.

According to the letter, Finch publically discussed sensitive and privileged employment situations involving county staff and employees and abused her access to certain county information and files in providing that information for non-county related purposes.

 “Said conduct was inappropriate and unethical,” the letter reads. “Further, said conduct, in your capacity as Human Resources Director for Washington County, was a breach of your fiduciary obligation(s) to the county and its employees.”

According to the letter, Finch’s behavior “illustrates that you do not possess the standard of morality or ethics to continue in your current position as Human Resources Director for Washington County.”

“I do feel that you have been grossly negligent and unethical in your job duties and have breached your fiduciary responsibility that comes with being the Washington County Human Resources Director,” the letter to Finch states.

In an e-mail reply on Tuesday, Finch said the termination letter was “a gross misrepresentation of the situation that led to my dismissal.”

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