SUMPTER — Sumpter’s assistant city recorder said she and two of the city’s three other employees are on paid administrative leave.
LeAnne Woolf, a former city councilor in the town of 210 about 28 miles west of Baker City, said Sumpter Mayor Greg Lucas told her on May 14 that she was on leave due to “overcommunicating.”
Woolf said Lucas cited as an example a note she allegedly wrote on a Sumpter resident’s water bill, but he didn’t provide a copy.
Woolf said she wrote “Happy 2019!” on customers’ bills in January, but she’s not aware of anything she might have written that would have prompted her to be disciplined.
Woolf said Sumpter City Recorder Julie McKinney, and Public Works Director Jeff McKinney, Julie McKinney’s husband, were both placed on paid leave Friday.
Lucas could not be reached for comment. He was elected as mayor in November 2018 as a write-in candidate.
The Sumpter City Council met on Tuesday night.
Woolf, who attended the meeting, said Lucas mentioned multiple investigations regarding city operations, but he did not elaborate.
She said Lucas told a standing room only audience at City Hall that attorneys have been advising city officials.
Woolf said the city has hired temporary employees to replace her and the McKinneys.
A company from John Day is handling city recorder and bookkeeping duties, Woolf said.
Although Woolf said no city official has given her other reasons for her being put on leave, she has heard rumors that her “accounting practices are under investigation.”
According to a written transcript of a May 16 Sumpter city budget hearing that Woolf provided, City Councilor Charlie Briscoe said Jeff McKinney had told him he had heard he would be fired.
Briscoe said he told McKinney that wasn’t true, according to the hearing transcript.
Briscoe did say, according to the transcript, that he told McKinney that things need to change in the city, and that the city needs accountability.