Official: Consultant completes inquiry into Caddo animal services director
CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A management consultant hired by the Caddo Commission has completed its inquiry into an allegation of unprofessional behavior by the parish's Animal Services and Mosquito Control director, the commission's president says.
The investigation of Everett Harris by Gayla S. Godfrey has wrapped, Commission President Lyndon B. Johnson said, although he could not confirm when the probe was completed.
The inquiry launched at the end of August has taken nearly 2 months because "personal personnel issues regarding Harris" popped up during the probe, Johnson said.
The third-party company was hired by parish administration after Harris admitted to posting a picture that many called offensive on the official Animal Services Facebook page. He later claimed he didn't create it. And the page has since been deactivated.
The photo, posted Aug. 25, is of a newspaper clipping with symbols scrawled on it. The clipping features dogs up for adoption in Caddo with the Star of David drawn in red ink on their faces and Nazi symbols drawn in black marker over their heads. Harris later called the post "an accident" and explained that he did not create the photo.
Caddo Parish Administrator Dr. Woody Wilson, who in the past has made it clear he is a supporter of Harris, has been tight-lipped about what he calls a "third-party investigation" and how much it will cost, saying it is a personnel matter. After filing a public records request, KSLA News 12 received a document that reveals inside information about the process.
The letter of proposal shows that the same day animal advocates rallied Aug. 31 to have Harris fired, Wilson agreed to hire an investigator to look into whether Harris used unprofessional behavior by posting the controversial picture on the Animal Services Facebook page.
The document shows the investigator hired is Gayla S. Godfrey, of SPHR Management Consulting out of Monroe.
In her proposal letter, she thanks parish attorney Donna Frazier for contacting her to conduct the investigation. Based on her conversation with Frazier, she states, "the scope of my work will include conducting an independent investigation into the allegation."
She describes plans to "interview Mr. Harris, department employees, administration and other employees who may have knowledge of the allegation and/or other relevant information to the investigation."
Godfrey explains in the letter that she also planned to review relevant information/documents and pertinent parish policies and procedures.
The document also says Godfrey plans to provide a written report of her findings and meet with Wilson to discuss the report and answer any questions.
According to the letter, her fee is $100 an hour, plus hotel expenses, $56 a day for meals and mileage reimbursements.
According to Godfrey, an invoice would not be submitted with the total amount due until the investigation is completed.
KSLA News 12 now is requesting the total amount invoiced to the parish.
According to Johnson, the next step is to set up an employee conference with Harris, Wilson and the parish's human resources director. Results of the inquiry are to be revealed to Harris at that time.
After that employee conference, Johnson said, the results will be discussed with the Caddo Commission.
KSLA News 12 has reached out to Wilson for comment.
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