Queensbury Embattled Warren County Social Service Commissioner Sheila Weaver, accused of illegally applying for welfare benefits for her boyfriend, will be paid her $79,184 salary through May – despite the fact she hasn't been working in her county post since she was arrested Aug. 5 – in a plea deal that calls for her to reisgn Jan. 18 and eventually be cleared of all criminal charges if she stays out of trouble.
The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Thursday Dec. 22 to approve the plea deal. She was charged with Official Misconduct, two felony counts of second-degree Forgery, and two counts of second-degree Offering a False Instrument for Filing.
Just days after her arrest, she filed a discrimination complaint with the state Human Rights Division, accusing the county of discriminating against her because of her claimed Native American heritage.
The plea deal approved Dec. 22 calls for her to abandon this complaint and bars her from any other legal action against the county concerning her employment – in exchange for an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal on the criminal charges.
Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne, who is prosecuting the criminal charges against Weaver, said this week he had offered the six-month adjournment because the case was weak.
In the plea deal, Weaver admitted under oath Dec. 19 that she had violated the county Department of Social Services policy and Code of Ethics by acting as Michael Hester's representative on his application for public assistance while she was serving as commissioner.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec said he was anticipating public criticism of the deal.
I know people are frustrated we've been paying someone to not work,” he said. “But a settlement like this removes the uncertainty – We're trying to do the best we can to represent the interests of the citizens of our county.”