Warren County Attorney Martin Auffredou discusses with the media a pending plea deal endorsed Dec. 22 that grants Social Services Commissioner Shiela Weaver, who was arrested in August, about $59,000 in unearned pay -- and eventual dismissal of the charges against her if she says out of trouble.
Photo by Thom Randall.
continued Stec said that without the settlement agreement, the county could lose the case and face financial liability.
He said the extensive provisions of the plea deal, including the extension of her pay through May, were partially due to the state's legal protections granted to commissioners. By this summer, Weaver will have been paid about $59,000 in salary while she was not working for the county.
He said that the legal process, which included hearings on her conduct, had to be followed.
“There is a process in place for government to act, and that process takes time,” he said.
Stec added that the situation with Weaver demonstrated the need for a more thorough vetting process in hiring county commissioners.
The allegations and arrest came as a shock because Weaver had played a key role in rooting out fraudulent welfare applications, instituted new standards for employees, and worked to slash costs and consolidate the bureaucracy of the Social Services Department. In doing so, she irritated many of the department employees.
Kevin Conine, the investigator she and county District Attorney Kate Hogan put in place to root out welfare fraud, arrested Weaver on Aug. 5. Weaver has been Commissioner of Social Services for 2 & ½ years.
Former Deputy Commissioner Suzanne Wheeler was named acting Commissioner of Social Services at the time of Weaver's arrest.
County Attorney Martin Auffredou said the plea deal made sense under the circumstances.
“We hope the county can get back to work and move forward,” he said. “This brings to close a very unfortunate and sad chapter in the history of the county.”