Supervisor confirms investigation of El Dorado County Auditor/Controller, Joe Harn
In a telephone interview, Supervisor Ray Nutting confirmed that El Dorado County Auditor/Controller, Joe Harn, is under investigation related to charges made in two letters from former co-workers. At the Board meeting Nutting asked if there is an investigation into claims made in the letters (duplicated below) and the HR staff member answered yes. In it, they detail accused misconduct including Bullying and inappropriate intimate relations with subordinates. They state that Joe Harn is a liability to the county and county taxpayers.
At a public hearing last week the subject was a late letter submitted to the public record about workplace bullying in El Dorado County government.
Norma Santiago, BOS Chair.
Supervisor Ray Nutting asked HR Noone if the claims were being investigated.
Ray Nutting, El Dorado County Supervisor.
The issue was continued to this Tuesday and the Chair said people should read the content of the letter and come prepaired to talk about it this week.
Actual Letters from Chris McCaffree
Sun, Feb 23, 2014 at 9:13PM
Dear Board of Supervisors,
Attached are two documents I would like to have read into the agenda items referenced above (13-0401 and 13-0447) in conjunction with the personnel policy change to add "Respect in the Work Place".
The document entitled "Joe Harn_Hostile Work Environment" is my personal experience The document entitled "Joe Harn ElDorado from Tom Heck" is the experience of Tom Heck written by him about his experience when he was Director of General Services. This email will be followed by an email where Tom Heck gives his permission for this document to be shared with the public.
Thank you very much,
This contemporanious record was Written Tuesday, December 15, 2008:
This memo is to document a Hostile Work Environment (Bullying) incident with Joe Harn.
In November 2008, the county Chief Administrative Officer had requested that I complete the rates and start billing the departments as soon as possible so that the county would have good information for mid-year budgets.
Prior to this incident, I had met with Kathy Sergeant two times over a two-week period and had at least two telephone discussions to review General Service's Fled rates during that period. Fleet rates were part of my responsibilities at the time. Our communications were very courteous and professional on all occasions.
On December 9, 2008 at approximately 7:40 AM, I went to the Auditor-Controller's downstairs office to ask some questions of Kathy Sergeant. I was greeted by Jon Devine and let in the door, after which I went to Kathy's office and knocked on the door and asked if Kathy had time to go over the issues. Kathy said that she had to call Joe. I asked her if we could not just discuss it between us first. She said that, "No, I have to call Joe". Kathy picked up the phone, dialed and said, "Chris McCaffree is here".
Within a minute or two, Joe Harn came bursting through the door, yelling and aggressive in my face. He began accusing me of saying things about his staff and of playing games, etc. etc. — all of which were false accusations. I was shocked. I had to this point never had a conversation with Ham. After continuous yelling and pointing his finger in my face while yelling and telling me I had my job because of him, he said, "You've lost all credibility with me, get out of my office!"
About 3 hours later I received an email from Joe instructing me "Please address all further communications regarding accounting issues directly to me." I sent the rate information to Joe with no response ever, even when I tried to follow up. As I said, I was in shock. When I asked one of Joe's ex-employees about this treatment, I was told that this was Joe's way of letting someone know that Joe was not happy with their questions or attitude and this was to done to "shut me down" and try to force my boss to fire me since I could not work with the Auditor-Controller anymore.
On October 17, 2008, I met with Mr. Joe Ham. I initially believed this was a team building meeting to improve our relationship. Upon meeting Mr. Harn sometime after 11:00 am, Joe asked me to follow him out of the building. I initially thought this to be unusual but continue on and followed him out to a bench in the Veteran Memorial. After sitting down, Joe raised the issue of concern. I and my FAM, Chris McCaffree had not responded back to one of Chris's workers, _____________, who had sent an email stating that she did not believe that General Service FAM had sufficient resources to get the monthly EID bill paid on time. Joe believed that by stating this, Chris or I would not be able to discipline her performance, if needed. I told Mr. Harn that I had seen the email and did not believe it was disrespectful or unprofessional and therefore, did not really warrant a response. Joe was not happy with my response and became visibly agitated. At that point, I did not say anything about it. The discussion continued and he explained that he thought Mr. McCaffree was getting to close to his staff and would not be able to discipline them. I assured him this was not true. Then, Mr. Harn asked if I knew how Mr. McCaffree became the General Services FAM. I said I did not. Mr. Harn explained to me that he was asked to pick a new GS FAM, which I thought was strange. He then said he could have him fired. I asked him who Mr. McCaffree worked for. "Did he work for you, Joe." Joe responded that he did not and that Mr. McCaffree worked for me. I assured Mr. Harn that Chris was an exceptional employee and that he would remain the GS FAM. I don't believe he liked my answer.
Then, Mr. Ham asked me if l knew that he had worked the media to force the BOS to fire one of the past General Services Director. I told him I did not. He then proceeded to ask me to respond to ____________'s email telling her that we in fact had the resources to do the job. He said it was inappropriate for ____________ to put this in an email. This continues on--at least six more times he asked me to address this email. He become even more agitated so that I had to ask him why he was so visibly irritated. He said he was not irritated. In the interest of working together, I finally agreed that I would have Mr. McCaffree address the email as he wished. He then explained that he was now more comfortable that we would get the job done.
M. Harn was trying to intimidate me and wanted me to be fearful of him. . was also threatening that he could get me fired. This was both bizarre and crazy — I would suggest that this man may be unbalanced.
I believe this to be totally unprofessional, against County policy, and believe Mr. Ham should be admonished for this behavior.
This was written by Tom :
- Original Message -
From: Thomas Heck
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 7:34AM
Subject: Re: Info McCaffree
Chris You should know I did in fact talk to most of the board members that were not a friend of Joe's about Joe. Gayle never wanted to take him on. I tried through my departure assessment which clearly identified Joe as the biggest problem costing the county - I think I said millions of dollars. I will see if I still have a copy to send you. Check with my former secretary. If you find it feel free to release it as well especially if you are getting some traction on this. I would be happy to comment further-- privately or in public.
Via: file: Public%20Comment%202-24-14%20BOS%202-25-14%20(1).pdf