The deputy sheriff is also a board member. He opened the investigation into an incident that occurred over a year before he became a board member. He has questioned at least 6 employees in the interrogation room at the sheriff's office. They were given copies of their Miranda rights, but the one person I spoke to, wasn't verbally advised of them or asked if she wanted to waive them. I know this is a conflict of interest because, as a board member, he is considered "a boss" of the employees. My question is, is this legal? And if not, who do I need to contact?
Danielle,So long as he personally opts out from voting on this event, this is not really a conflict of interest, at least not directly. As he is investigating something when he was not a board member, he is permitted to do so since his duty to the business entity begins running from the date he was voted on the Board and not for past discretion. A "Board Member" is not technically the boss, the Board is the boss for officers of the corporate entity as they are the ones who hire and fire them, but they generally do not have direct control over lower employees--that is done via officers and the management team the officers put in place. As a consequence the Board members can indeed investigate but the moment the investigation begins dealing with behavior that took place when he was also on the Board, he would need to step aside. As it stands now he generally can bring his findings to the Board but cannot vote on any resolutions.Good luck.
This is a public entity - a 911 board, not a private corporation. The board makes all hiring and firing decisions, including raises, etc - so while employees have one direct supervisor, the director, the board is ultimately the decision maker at this entity. Does that make a difference? Also, the current sheriff, his boss at his job, was on the board when this incident occurred. I just want to make sure I understand.
Danielle,Thank you for your follow-up. Public or private, the answer would remain the same, and the Board can investigate itself or via Board members to find out if any violations took place. That, by itself, is not a violation. A Board member cannot investigate himself or his own wrongdoing (that would be a conflict), but he can investigate past behavior. I still do not see a direct conflict provided the investigator refrains from voting on any resolutions that are directly related to the investigation.Hope that clarifies.
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