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Personnel director returns to work
Sep 23, 2004 12:00 am
Lebanon City Personnel Director Jim Henderson is back at work, and city officials said a formal investigation suggests an alleged incident of secret video taping of city employees in city hall was isolated.
However, the episode may not be over as sources close to the investigation said Tuesday the city employee caught on video tape has secured the services of an attorney.
Lebanon Mayor Don Fox cleared Henderson of any wrongdoing with a statement made Monday to The Lebanon Democrat, clearing the way for the longtime city employee's return to work Tuesday.
Fox and City Attorney Andy Wright also said Henderson's son, Matthew Henderson, a part-time city employee working in the elder Henderson's department had been fired.
Fox and Wright said Matthew Henderson' s face was plainly visible on the tape removed from the camera, which is city property and under the control of Jim Henderson's personnel department.
The camera was filming employees on a fire escape at city hall, an apparent attempt to catch employees in the act of smoking, according to a source close to the investigation.
Wright said the camera is assigned to the personnel department because of Henderson's dual role as the city's safety director.
"It is city property, but it belongs to the personnel department," Wright said. "Apparently, Matthew Henderson has borrowed it in the past to tape accident scenes when city vehicles are involved."
Wright also said evidence in his office's investigation suggests Matthew Henderson acted alone in setting up the video camera. Wright also said the one incident is believed to be the only one of allegedly secret videos being made in city hall.
Fox outlawed the practice in a 1994 memo to city staff.
"It appears to a totally and completely isolated incident, and the rogue mission of Matthew Henderson," Wright said.
Though the city's internal investigation may be drawing to a close, the episode may not go away for city leaders.
A source close to city hall said the city employee caught on video has sought the legal advice of Lebanon trial lawyer Hugh Green.
Green would not confirm his involvement when reached Tuesday afternoon.
Wright said he anticipates Fox and City Council members receiving a copy of his written report as early as today.
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.