Lake County Board of Commissioners

At the first official meeting of the new year for the Lake County Board of Commissioners on Monday, Commissioner Kayla Marcella, left, is elected chairman of the board. Also pictured are Commissioner Sarah Mudge and Commissioner Mark Glenn. During the meeting, former employe Whittney Smythe-Smith accused the board of violating its personnel policy.

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners Monday was accused of violating a policy in its personnel handbook.

Former employee Whittney Smythe-Smith, who served as human resources director and executive assistant to the BOCC, appeared during the public comment portion of the meeting expressing concerns about the fact that moving expenses were apparently paid for Lorry Parker, human resources director, in conjunction with her hiring in 2019.

The county’s personnel handbook states: “2.3.4 Moving Expenses: The County will not pay moving expenses for any employee that is hired.”

Smythe-Smith said that she began investigating when she saw payments to Parker listed in the county bills (published as required by law in the Herald Democrat). One payment was for $1503.15 and the other for $6,108.91.

After making several Colorado Open Records Act requests, Smythe-Smith learned that no action was taken by the BOCC regarding any changes to the personnel handbook allowing reimbursement of moving expenses.

After seeking all documentation relating to the two payments to Parker, she learned that Commissioner Kayla Marcella signed off on both reimbursement requests to Parker.

Expenses included a rental car, lodging, a payment to Ship A Car, renting a U-Haul truck and miscellaneous items.

Smythe-Smith noted that when she was the human resources director for the county, there were numerous instances of job candidates asking for moving expenses and being turned down.

None of the commissioners commented after hearing from Smythe-Smith at Monday’s meeting.

At the end of the meeting she asked that the matter be addressed at the Jan. 20 board meeting by setting an item on the agenda calling for the repayment of the $7,612.06 to Lake County Govermment.

Smythe-Smith also asked for a conflict-of-interest policy for legal counsel relating to dating, marriage and divorce.

She then asked that members of the finance department be trained to bring before the BOCC any items that are in violation of county policy.

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