Cassie Ethington found guilty; let go


By David Avitabile

A panel of eight Schoharie County supervisors Monday night found personnel director Cassie Ethington guilty of misconduct, resulting in her termination from her position.
The "jury" deliberated for about an hour and board Chairman Tony VanGlad of Gilboa read the verdict shortly before 9pm in the Schoharie County Courthouse.
All eight supervisors voted to find Ms. Ethington guilty of a charge of withholding relevant material from the county's labor attorney.
The panel was made up of supervisors Jim Buzon of Middleburgh, Bill Federice of Conesville, Amber Bleau of Wright, Leo McAllister of Cobleskill, Shawn Smith of Blenheim, William Smith of Broome, Earl VanWormer of Esperance, and Mr. VanGlad.
The evening began with closing statements by both attorneys.
Ms. Ethington's attorney, Ron Dunn, explained, "We are here because the Board of Supervisors gave her an extra difficult job to do" which was to close the certified home-aide division of the department of health.
"You put her in that situation."
Ms. Ethington had denied that she withheld information from the labor attorney and Mr. Dunn added, "She withheld nothing."
Attorney Michael McDermott, who represented the county, asked supervisors, "What kind of employee is the county entitled to?"
Ms. Ethington, he added, did not perform to the standard required.
"You as the Board of Supervisors have employee expectations more than that...You are entitled to an employee who has the best interests of Schoharie County in mind...That was not the case here with Cassandra Ethington."
The disciplinary hearing against Ms. Ethington began in early July and was adjourned several times.
Ms. Ethington was suspended with pay last year after a lengthy report found evidence of alleged harassment. Four charges were then levied against her. Three of the four charges against her were later dropped.
Of the 16 supervisors, only eight remained on the "jury." Seven supervisors were excused because they could be called as witnesses and another, Sean Jordan of Jefferson, was excused because he had a lawsuit against the county when he was let go after he worked in the planning department.