Former Cole County official sues former boss, Cole Co. Commission

4 months 1 week 5 days ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 7:33:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
By: James Packard, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - The former Cole County Chief Juvenile Officer sued his former boss and the Cole County Commission Tuesday, claiming leadership failed to investigate illegal drug use among deputy juvenile officers.

Kurt Valentine worked for Cole County until Sept. 1. He says he resigned after his boss, Cole County Juvenile Court Administrator Michael Couty, told him he would be fired regardless of the outcome of an internal investigation. Valentine said it wasn't clear what the purpose of the investigation was.

In Summer 2016, Valentine said someone gave him "reliable" information that some of his deputy juvenile officers, who work with juvenile offenders, were using illegal drugs.

"It was more than just smoking marijuana," Valentine said.

He claims he told Couty about the drug use, and recommended all deputy juvenile officers, as well as Couty and himself, be drug tested. Valentine says Couty responded "you might not like the answers you get." Valentine's lawsuit says Couty later told him "it is too expensive" and asked him to forget about it.

"I let it go," Valentine said. "Probably shouldn't have, but I did."

Valentine says he got more information about the same deputy juvenile officers using illegal drugs in Summer 2017, and again reported it to Couty.

That, Valentine says, is when Couty began leaving him out of meetings. Valentine says he requested several meetings with Couty, and Couty made a habit of canceling those meetings. On July 27, Valentine says Couty handed him a signed letter, placing him on "administrative leave pending an 'investigation,'" according to the lawsuit.

Couty, who works at the Prenger Family Center in Jefferson City, was out of the office Tuesday afternoon and did not respond to a phone call from KOMU 8 News.

The Cole County Commission, also being sued, said it did not supervise Couty. Commissioner Sam Bushman said, "[Valentine]'s not suing the right people."

Cole County Commission counsel Jill Lahue said while the commission pays Couty and Valentine's salaries, the court is in charge of supervising them. She referenced a Missouri law that says someone in Valentine's position would serve under the direction of the court, but it does not specify who someone in Couty's position would serve under. A different law says the court may appoint an administrator, but it does not specify to whom the administrator reports.

"The responsibility of Couty to supervise Mr. Valentine: That's a function of county government" said Dave Moen, Valentine's attorney. He said if the court were in charge of supervising Couty, "I would have to ask, why is a state employee being paid from county funds?"

The Cole County Commission said it had not been served with the lawsuit as of Tuesday afternoon and could not comment on specific allegations in the lawsuit. However, Lahue said Moen sent a petition to the commission several weeks ago with some of the same allegations. Lahue said the commission investigated the claims and determined they were not true, misrepresented, or taken out of context.

"Well, it's kind of curious because if they're not responsible for Mr. Valentine, how would they be responsible to investigate anything?" Moen said.

Valentine's lawsuit seeks to get his job back and get payments for emotional distress.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri moved to a new location to help feed more people... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:34:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri House committee investigating Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has hired former state Supreme... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:32:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - MU researchers say there will be 600 million people with some level of diabetic blindness by the year... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:27:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Downtown Leadership Council wants more parking spaces for customers and visitors downtown. The Downtown Leadership Council... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:58:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
SWEET SPRINGS - As temperatures rise in Central Missouri, so do fishermen's aspirations of landing their trophy catch. Missouri's lakes... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:49:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - "Organic" and "non-GMO"—these food labels adorn all kinds of products, from breakfast cereal to snack food. And according... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
BELLERIVE (AP) — The University of Missouri-St. Louis is considering eliminating some degree programs amid financial trouble. A committee... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 5:17:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Missouri State University and its food supplier are investigating to determine how a small mouse was found... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – A study out this week finds high stress levels among elementary teachers affect student behavior and performance. ... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:38:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - More than 100 immigrants gathered to become American citizens at the naturalization ceremony Wednesday afternoon. "It's... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:29:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Legal experts say Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was not entitled to use a donor list... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:11:56 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The head of an MU Latino student group said Wednesday a court ruling to protect the Deferred Action... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:06:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH - Hundreds celebrated the life of Miller County sheriff's deputy Casey Shoemate Wednesday morning. Shoemate died Friday... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:49:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in Top Stories
ST. CHARLES (AP) — In a brief and subdued speech to hundreds of St. Louis area police officers, Missouri Gov.... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:41:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Union teachers are urging lawmakers to vote against a bill that would change how unions use dues... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:28:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA — One out of every three Missouri families is now affected by the opioid crisis. This fact drove the... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 1:50:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The five-year battle between Jefferson City YMCA and the city of Holts Summit intensified this week when... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 1:37:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
MONROE CITY (AP) — A mother and daughter are recovering after narrowly escaping their burning home with the help of... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 1:27:18 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 52°
9pm 57°
10pm 55°
11pm 53°
12am 52°