Oklahoma County DA Asks to Expand Investigation of County Employees
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has asked the Sheriff's Office to expand its investigation into possible misconduct by 16 county employees.
"We sent the case back to the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office to clear up some questions we have," said District Attorney David Prater.
The investigation centers around 16 employees in District 2 County Commissioner Brian Maughan's office. Commissioner Maughan suspended nearly half of his staff pending the outcome of the investigation.
"We were tipped off by a citizen call and just like every time we have a citizen call we would pursue it and follow through and that's how we found some stuff we were uncomfortable with," said Commissioner Maughan who asked the D.A.'s office and sheriff's office to investigate the findings.
Maughan won't say who was suspended with pay or what positions they held because it's not a final disciplinary action, but he said despite the suspensions work in the district will continue.
"I'd rather operate at 30 percent efficiency and 100 percent legally than any kind of question otherwise," Maughan said.
The employees who are still working under Maughan are having to pick up the slack and learn new skills.
Kevin Hopkins was hired on as the special projects coordinator but is now acting superintendent. He said the staff is sticking together and getting the work done.
"We've got nine people now taking care of the county roads for District 2 and doing a pretty good job of it," Hopkins said.
Commissioner Maughan said this wasn't what he wanted to tackle when he took office, but it appeared the conduct that's in question had been going on for some time by some who've been there long enough to know better.
"It ranges from an employee whose been here for five months to one that's been here for 30 years," Maughan said.
Maughan said once the investigation is complete, he'll release the names of the employees if, and only if they are disciplined any further than the current suspension with pay.