Creating a climate of fear and intimidation with County employees
I am a CPA, was a Scout Master for the Boy Scouts and a previous employee of El Dorado County. I live in El Dorado County. What I am about to describe about Joe Harn is based on my own experience.
One of my duties at the county made it necessary that I work with a woman in Joe Harn’s office on budgets (her name is withheld to protect a victim). While doing this work I found some strange and unusual things had happened in this budget area in the past. After working on this issue for a few weeks I suddenly could no longer get the woman to return my calls. Since I just worked across the street, I walked over to find out why she was not taking my calls. The woman told me Joe had instructed her that I could no longer talk with her. She had been told by Joe Harn that if I came to her office, she was to call him.
Joe Harn (dressed in his usual morning sweats) came right down from his office upstairs and started yelling at me about a variety of nonsense none of which was true. While yelling he came closer and closer pointing a finger in my face. I had never had a conversation with him before this. I was shocked and surprised by this very unprofessional behavior. It was then I realized that the stories might be true that Joe Harn had had a sexual relationship with this woman. I could only guess that he was giving me a message not to mess with his “lady”.
My suspicions were confirmed as I found out that this woman had taken a temporary assignment with the Tax Collector’s office during a cooling off period after the relationship with Joe Harn went bad. By the way, this woman was one of the highest paid employees of Joe Harn’s and still is. There have been other women in Joe Harn’s office with whom he has forced a relationship. They are victims. Joe might argue it was their choice, but what do you do when your boss makes you choose between feeding your family and doing what you would never want to do. It is a real shame. In describing this yelling incident to others, I found out that Joe had done the same thing to more than a few people as a way to intimidate them. Also, after this incident, Joe Harn instructed his staff that they were no longer to communicate with me and that I had to go through him personally for all work. When I tried to work directly with Joe, he refused to respond and tried to pressure my boss to fire me, which my boss refused to do. Joe also had a yelling session with my boss to try to intimidate him.
While working at El Dorado County I had many experiences where Joe Harn directed his staff to waste taxpayer’s money by questioning over and over items that were less than $5.00 and re-writing contracts to change one word at the cost of thousands of dollars to us taxpayers. Joe Harn has instructed his staff not to help any other department in financial matters so that he can look like a hero when things fall apart in the various departments so that Joe can claim that he uncovered the problems when in reality he has helped cause the problem by not doing his job to help the departments with training and mentoring. If you have any trusted friends working at the county who have interaction with Joe Harn, ask them what they think of Joe. You will be surprised that most people see Joe as a major source of wasted money and ineffective government while he forces his agenda on the other leaders and employees of the county. Having spent most of my career in private industry, I was very disappointed that all this was going on in my county.
Chris McCaffree, CPA
Former El Dorado County Employee
Fiscal Administrative Manager