Mitchell DSS Director Placed On Paid Investigative Leave

According to the Mitchell News-Journal,  Mitchell County Department of Social Services Director Sara Ross has been placed under paid investigative leave until Monday, Aug. 24. In the open DSS session during the regular meeting of the Mitchell County Commissioners on Monday,  August 3rd, Ross was  confronted about possible contracts with an outside IT company and possibly violating county personnel policy by providing DSS employees with an extra paid leave day during the Independence Day holiday. The board then went into closed session for an hour and a half. When they returned to open session, Commissioner Vern Grindstaff put forth the motion to place the director on paid investigative status. Grindstaff said, “As this board is aware after the discussions tonight, there is great concern as to some actions taken at the Department of DSS, specifically by the director in regards to IT contracts being negotiated, being signed, not being signed. There is great concern as far as violation of personnel policy giving employees a day off that’s not in the county personnel policy.” The board approved the motion and placed Ross under paid investigation status in a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Grindstaff, Jeff Harding and Steve Pitman voting for and Jacob Willis and Danny Burleson voting against. The investigation will examine contracts, purchase orders, statements of charges, money owed or paid, correspondence and other documents between Mitchell County DSS and IT providers.  Additionally, they will examine the department’s payroll records for the month of July.