One of three Camden County Commissioners is reacting to recommendations made by an independent HR firm after an altercation in January.

“I don’t agree with the findings” says First District Commissioner James Gohagan, “the audio alone has the public outraged! You can hear what happened on that audio…it was definitely contentious…it was definitely inappropriate.”

He tells KRMS News an attorney with the firm told him it seemed likely other people were involved in the staging of the argument, but it’s unclear who that was “here’s what she said to me…quote “If we didn’t have any other players, I think it would be stronger. If it was just those two acting a lone, nobody else got involved…I think were I see kinda a balancing act, that there were others that facilitate, or failed to deescalate, or some combination of both.”” 

Gohagan says he has filed charges against two county workers, both of which have been on paid leave since January.

This is a developing story and we’ll pass along more details as they become available here on KRMS.

Below is a copy of a press release sent out by Camden County Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty and 2nd District Commissioner Don Williams.

 

Camden County Commission

Press Release

The results of the independent investigation by Jackson Lewis P.C. regarding the January 7, argument that took place between maintenance employees and 1st District Commissioner James Gohagan, were presented to the Camden County Commission on Monday, April 26, 2021, by Camden County Human Resources.

The firm of Jackson Lewis P.C. is an independent professional firm specializing in Human Resources investigations. and were contracted by Camden County through the sealed bid process.  They collected evidence and interviewed everyone involved.

As usual, the reality of situation is far from the fabrications created on Facebook. This situation was triggered by social media posts from a small group of individuals, for political purposes. These Facebook posts are not based in truth. The truth is, no one was surrounded by ten maintenance employees (there are only five maintenance employees and only two were involved in the argument), no one was ever being “held hostage”, there was no physical assault, there was no conspiracy, and no crimes were committed.  It was merely a disagreement.

In closed session, the recommendation of Jackson Lewis P.C. was discussed and was for a 5-day suspension, without pay for the two maintenance employees involved, and for conflict resolution training for the members of the commission.  Commissioner Gohagan revealed that he had already spoken with Jackson Lewis P.C., and that he therefore had prior knowledge of their findings.  He then refused to undergo any training.  He left the meeting, breaking a door in the process, cursing, and was not present for any votes.

Commissioner Don Williams made a motion to accept the recommendations of the independent investigation. Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty Seconded the motion. The vote among the remaining commissioners was unanimous in favor of accepting the recommendations of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Commissioner Williams made a motion to authorize the HR Administrator to set up the Commission training regarding conflict resolution and to invite all elected officials to participate if they wish. Presiding Commissioner Hasty seconded the motion. Commissioner Gohagen was not present for this vote. The motion then passed by unanimous vote of the remaining members of the commission.

Much has been stated on social media regarding this incident without any knowledge of ALL of the facts. The independent professional firm doing this investigation are experts in their field. They had access to ALL of the facts, and the testimony of everyone involved. This investigation was professionally done, in accordance with state and federal law. The commission has accepted their findings, and will implement their recommendations.

The employees involved are aware of the results and recommendations, and are reviewing their legal options.

We are hoping this matter can now be put behind us and we can move forward serving the citizens of Camden County in a positive manner.