Employee says firing was retaliation

Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 02:05 PM.

CHIPLEY — County Human Resources Director Heather Finch was fired on Tuesday, according to County Manager Steve Joyner.

“It was an unfortunate situation,” Joyner said on Thursday. He would not state the reason for the firing. Joyner suggested the media request the information under the state Sunshine Law.

"I was shocked to be terminated without any notice, and for nor legitimate reason, as Director of Human Resources for Washington County, a position I have held with pride and honor during the last six years under four different county administrators,” Finch said. “This action blindsided me, and could not occur at a more difficult time. I am seven and a half months pregnant and my husband is fighting Stage 4 Cancer.”

Finch said the firing was in retaliation for her complaining about corruption and harassment in the county government.

“In spite of working in a hostile environment where the members of leadership abuse power daily, I served the people of Washington County with integrity and honesty, and I will continue to do everything I can to bring fairness and equal treatment for all county employees," Finch said.

The topic of Finch’s termination did not come up at Thursday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, but Joyner discussed the situation following the meeting.

Joyner said the county was looking into whether or not to replace Finch, and he said that in the interim, county employees Stacy Webb and Carol Parks would be sharing the human resources director’s duties.

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