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McCracken settles lawsuit against county clerk

BY WILL PINKSTON wpinkston@paducahsun.com

County officials have reached an agreement to end a nearly two year long lawsuit with McCracken County Clerk Jeff Jerrell, pending Fiscal Court approval.

The lawsuit, filed against Jerrell in April 2012, alleged former clerk's office employee Leslie Hannan was laid off in retaliation for her participation with two other employees in penning a letter to county and state officials that accused Jerrell of questionable office practices.

Jerrell denied the claims of mismanagement and retaliation, saying Hannan was one of two employees let go in March 2012 solely for budget constraints resulting from an $80,000 shortfall. A subsequent state audit for 2011 - released months later - returned a perfect score and found no issues with the office's financial practices, while a 2010 audit also found no major problems.

The lawsuit alleged that Hannan started suffering from a hostile working environment when fellow employees learned of the letters and supervisors refused to address issues. The lawsuit sought a jury trial, employee reinstatement and financial compensation.

On Tuesday, the parties met for mediation. After Jerrell left he received a call from his attorney stating the county intervened to settle the lawsuit. Jerrell wouldn't reveal terms of the settlement. He said he felt confident taking the case to trial, which was scheduled for next month.

"I have followed the practices and procedures that have been utilized at the clerk's office for the past 30 years," Jerrell said. "Our money is always balanced. Through the years we've been asked to make minor adjustments and we've always complied with the auditors, and in the last 30 years there have been some changes, but what hasn't changed is the service provided by the clerk's office and its employees."

The agreement is scheduled for review by Fiscal Court members at their meeting Monday.

Judge-Executive Van Newberry did not return calls for comment Thursday.

 

Contact Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676 or follow @WCPinkston on Twitter.

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