Cumberland Times-News

February 20, 2014

County employee placed on leave says he’s in talks about job status

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A county employee in his third month of paid leave from employment says he’s “still in negotiations with (the) county regarding status of returning to my job as accountant for the county taxpayers.”

LaVale resident Kevin Shaffer said he has also made a trip to the county office building as an ordinary citizen and was admitted. When placed on leave, he was told not to return to the complex.

County officials have previously confirmed they are in discussions with Shaffer’s attorney.

“I was able to ... (file) for county commissioner without a police escort or permission from the H.R. director. I was treated like any other citizen asking to go sign up for a political office,” Shaffer said. He said his current annual salary is $56,582 or $27.203 per hour. He is paid for 2,080 hours per working year, he said. The county did not respond to an earlier Times-News request for Shaffer’s salary.

Shaffer was placed on leave after using a vulgar word to make his point during an Allegany County Commission meeting on Dec. 5.

County officials have said an investigation of Shaffer’s actions at the Dec. 5 meeting was in progress. The Times-News has previously requested information about the status of the investigation and whether any charges had been filed against Shaffer. The newspaper also asked the length of time Shaffer would remain on leave and how much he had been paid while on leave, along with his yearly salary. County officials did not respond to those questions.

Shaffer ended up on leave after using two variations of the “F” word during the Dec. 5 commission meeting while making comments during the public comment period open to all citizens.  

Commission president Mike McKay gaveled the meeting to a close after Shaffer used the word a second time. Shaffer was speaking as a private citizen and has tangled with commissioners before.

The next day, Shaffer was placed on paid administrative leave until further notice by the county. Shaffer said that day he was greeted by security staff and told he was wanted for a meeting in a conference room. Shaffer said that his supervisor, Jason Bennett, county finance chief; County Administrator David Eberly; County Attorney Bill Rudd; and Brian Westfall were at the meeting along with a security officer.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.