According to Hasty, the commissioners’ office has been looking for the laptop for months, hoping to locate it without having to file a police report.
The Camden County Commission is attempting to locate a missing laptop designated to Human Resources.
A former Information Technology (IT) contractor employed by the county from late September 2016 until November 22, 2016 recently received a letter from an attorney representing the county commission asking him to return the computer, and now that contractor is alleging the accusation that he has the laptop is retaliation against him. Rueben Chambers of RVC Data Recovery says he received the letter after speaking to County Clerk Rowland Todd’s attorney.
Earlier this year, Todd filed a lawsuit against the commission, alleging violation of his first amendment rights and retaliation by the commission after the commission hired a private law firm to investigate Todd’s office following criticism of the commission by Todd over the HR department. The county commission denies retaliation and says it was pursuing the possibility of the investigation prior to Todd’s comments becoming public.
Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty denied the latest allegations of retaliation as well. According to Hasty, the commissioners’ office has been looking for the laptop for months, hoping to locate it without having to file a police report. Hasty said the commission has inquired with the former HR administrator as well as Chambers and other employees of the county.
According to an open letter to Hasty from Chambers, provided to local media and posted on RVC Data’s website, regarding the time period of March 16, 2017, “I called the County Clerk’s attorney and explained to him that you (Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty) had knowledge of a hostile work environment in November. I knew of this incident because I submitted it to you in writing on November 17, 2016 at 4 pm. Rowland Todd’s lawyer requested I send the document to him. I sent the letter to him that day but it did not reach him I resent it to him on March 24 and was able to confirm he received it.”
Hasty said that because Chambers was an independent contractor it was not the county’s Human Resources responsibility to handle a hostile work environment complaint and that Chambers would have needed to file that complaint at the federal level.
Exactly one week after sending the document to Todd’s attorney, Chambers said he received a letter from Camden County Attorney Charles McElyea.
According to McElyea’s letter, also provided by Chambers and posted online, dated March 31, 2017, “It is believed that you had possession of the computer to install certain software… I have been asked to contact you and request that you return the computer to the Camden County Commission at your earliest convenience.”
Chambers’ response states, “you think I have a laptop designated for the head of HR… I called your attorney and explained to him that it was located in the desk I was working at.”
Chambers said he only worked on that laptop for a few days and it never left the desk in the courthouse. He, nor RVC Data Recovery, is not in possession of it, he said. In his open letter to the commission, he questioned why the commission was reaching out to him six months after they terminated his employment if it was not for retaliatory purposes.
“Maybe I am wrong, so here are some alternatives to that — you searched for the county assets when I left and decided to wait six months to bring up a laptop that was missing,” Chambers wrote. “You did not care to look for the county asset for six months and just got around to finding out that you cannot locate the laptop when it was in the desk I was working at.”
On April 12, Hasty said he had not read the letter from Chambers, but reiterated the county was inquiring with several people possibly connected to the laptop and the commission was not accusing Chambers, or anybody, of stealing it.
The sheriff’s office has also been investigating a missing personnel file and a missing hard drive. It is unclear what, if any, connection there would be.