HELENWOOD — Two administrators were on hand at Monday’s monthly meeting of the Scott County Finance Committee to lodge complaints against Finance Director Brian Strunk.
Gabe Krahn, Scott County’s Administrator of Elections, and Kim Whittaker, coordinator of the 8th Judicial District’s Drug Task Force, took the floor to complain about actions by Strunk that they said took place over several months. Several other audience members on hand to apparently support Krahn and Whittaker did not speak.
Krahn said that she and Strunk had engaged in heated phone conversations over a decision to switch Internet service providers at the Election Commission office, while Whittaker complained that she had been banished from the Finance Office.
“I don’t believe it’s right for any woman to take verbal abuse from a man or be called out,” Krahn said of her conversations with Strunk. She added that there were others who had similar complaints, and presented the Finance Committee with a list of those people, whose names were not read aloud.
Whittaker, meanwhile, read from an email sent by Strunk formally requesting that she stop appearing at the Finance Office to make copies of documents that she said were official documents to be submitted for payroll purposes. She added that the district attorney general has been forced into a “go-between” role between the Finance Department and the Drug Task Force.
Strunk listened quietly as the allegations were lodged. Afterwards, he responded by denying the bulk of the allegations.
“Those allegations do not paint the entire picture or the dealings we have had to deal with within the Finance Department,” Strunk said.
After the discussion, Finance Committee chairman Mike Slaven said it would not be in the committee’s “best interest” to make a decision before taking time to consider the statements that had been made.
The exact nature of that decision was not specified, though Slaven later asked county attorney John Beaty about the committee’s authority for disciplinary actions against the director.
Committee member Dick Sexton, Scott County’s Road Superintendent, said he was not in favor of any employee of the county undergoing verbal harassment, adding that the county “needs a better relationship” with its employees.
Committee member Paul Strunk said that he felt he should remove himself from the situation, given its nature and the fact that Brian Strunk is his brother. However, he added, “There’s probably more to the story and we need to get to the bottom of it before we take action.”
Slaven had earlier made a similar statement when opening the floor for Brian Strunk to response, saying, “I’ve always been told that there’s a his side, her side, and the truth.”
Brian Strunk, meanwhile, said that verbal abuse works both ways.
“I’ve had people come to my office and make my staff cry. That’s the bottom line,” he said.