Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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July 24th, 2014

DFS Whistleblower Speaks Out

Some of the disgusting and unethical behind the scenes operation of what we call Sullivan County Government exploded Thursday when a DFS Whitleblower addressed the Sullivan County legislature before an Executive Session.

The emergency executive session Thursday was called to rescind the resolution the legislature approved to basically conduct a witch-hunt against Department of Health and Family Services Commissioner Randy Parker.

Please see the June 27th “Mouth That Roars” column entitled “Explosive Lawsuits and Allegations at DFS” that spoke about the backroom scramble by some of those in power to protect certain people – in particular Department of Family Services Senior Attorney Colleen Cunningham.

Colleen, as many of you know, is the sister of former Sullivan County Legislature Chairman and former Health and Family Services Commissioner Christopher Cunningham. The Cunningham family has close political ties to County Attorney Samuel Yasgur, and legislators Kathleen LaBuda, Jonathan Rouis, and Scott Samuelson.

If you recall, former County Legislator David Sager was abruptly fired by Parker from his position as Deputy Commissioner without explanation.

Many feel Sager’s firing was partially the result of a longtime feud and power play between Sager and Cunningham. Sager has since filed a lawsuit against Sullivan County in New York State Supreme Court.

Legislator Cora Edwards told me with regard to complaints in the Department of Family Services, “it is my understanding that the most recent investigation (resolution in question #267-14 authorizing $175,00 for Mc Cabe Associates) is the third investigation since I’ve been a legislator. We still have not received conclusive determinations from the first two (one conducted by Art Hawker and one conducted by Roemer Associates).”

Edwards who chairs the Public Safety and Law Enforcement Committee added, “Many respected members of the law enforcement and legal communities have told me that the$175,000 price tag on the revolution under consideration for rescinding is an outrageous amount. It is half of what is paid to Conflict Legal Aid firm for a full year ($350,000) and could be better spent other ways; either by hiring a full-time investigator or by having a Moreland-type Commission to investigate all of County Government. These are valid options that need to be explored, and we need to come to a decision we can all agree on – for the sake of our County and our future.”

During Thursday’s Executive Session to rescind the hiring of the Rochester firm and spending an estimated $175,000 in tax dollars to conduct investigations relating to internal complains and allegations, brave Sullivan County DFS Whitleblower Kim Martin came forward to speak during the public comment session.

I am now going to dedicate the rest of this column to Kim Martin and her comments. Please read them carefully and judge for yourself. Please understand that because of legal reasons she could not go into full detail pertaining to some items, but I am certain you will get the point, message and disgust with the behind the scenes operations of Sullivan County.

My Name is Kim Martin.

I am a Whistleblower.

I am a Sullivan County Taxpayer, and a Sullivan County employee.

I am speaking out here today, compelled to no longer be silent on the events that have unfolded in my life, at the hands of some very powerful, unscrupulous people who are in the top levels of local government.

In 2012, I discovered and reported fraudulent activity at the department of Health and Family Services, being committed by one of my co-workers. This was not the first time that I had found or reported that fraud was going on. In fact, it was the third time, and I simply could no longer stand by and watch this occur.

I reached out to a legislator, one who ran on a platform of transparency, and cutting fraud, waste and abuse. As soon as I told my supervisor I was doing that, I became a target. I was harassed by my supervisors, and a group of co-workers. I was taunted, I was intimidated, I was belittled, and I was retaliated against. Once my supervisor became adamant about moving me to another department, I took control of what would happen next. I reached out to my Union Representative, whom I had never spoken to before, looking for help.

I was instructed to file for whistleblower protection, which quite frankly in Sullivan County is an oxymoron. Before I even got back to my office, my supervisor knew where I was. Things became more hostile than ever. In the course of the year, I had all I could to do to stay, but support from my friends gave me the strength I needed.

Today, I am speaking out, because as a true whistleblower I am protected under the law. Since the County exposed me as a whistleblower in July of 2013, to the people who I had reported – and who have subsequently been arrested, I no longer wish to remain silent. It is time the taxpayers in Sullivan County know the truth. It is time that people are held accountable, and time for the cover up to stop.

I filed a claim of retaliation with the County of Sullivan, because of the hostile working conditions I had to endure at the hands of my supervisors and certain co-workers. That claim took forever for the county to do anything with. They repeatedly blew me off, and I have tons of documents to prove it, passing me back and forth from the County Manager, to Personnel, to the County Attorney’s office.

The county eventually hired an outside consultant, Arthur Hawker, to investigate my claim of retaliation. Despite the fact that this was recorded, and despite the fact that Mr. Hawker ensured me I would receive a copy of his findings, I was denied both, on repeated occasions by the County Attorney.

Randy Parker would learn of my report, but was instructed to leave it alone, by high ranking County Officials. David Sager was also aware, and was instructed the same thing. But, criminals often reoffend, and soon enough, both Randy and David would become aware of only a small portion of my buried whistleblower claim, and begin investigating it.

My retaliation claim was denied and the denial letter was sent to every person I had filed my whistleblower complaint against. The County exposed me to those I reported. I attempted an appeal, but that turned out to be a joke, as the appeal committee was made up of the County Attorney, the County Manager, and Personnel Director. Ms. McClausland was not even going to let me speak about my case.

Had it not been for my “forceful” Union Representative, I would not have been heard. To date, I still have no answer from my appeal. Despite the fact that arrests occurred and I was told in writing, that I would have a decision when the criminal portion was done.

I have been persistent. So persistent that Assistant County Attorney, Cheryl McClausland even had the audacity to accuse me of creating my own hostile working environment. I have that in writing as well. I created the hostile environment? By doing my job? And reporting fraud? Everything that had been done, or that management was attempting to do to me was my fault! Every day was a roller coaster ride. Who would target me today, who will threaten to kick my ass, who will ignore me… this went on for weeks at a time, which turned to months, and every day I found it harder and harder to stay. They were trying to break me.

So now, I sit by, and I watch day after day, as the County applies the same tactics to the case of Randy Parker. Does everyone know here that the County hired a second consultant, the law firm of Roemer, Wallens, and Mineaux, to look into the complaints that employees lodged against Parker? Does the public know that the amount paid was more than double what the legislature authorized? Does the public know that employees were given a number to call and leave their complaints on a voicemail? Doesn’t that seem like they were soliciting complaints?

Regardless of that fact, it is obvious that the investigation and the report was not what some of you wanted to hear. Since, Mr. Parker is still here, and since you have attempted to change the whistleblower policy – removing fraud, but adding everything under the sun, to make the reports of several disgruntled employees now “protected”.

I reported a legitimate case of fraud. I was not protected by this County, I was accosted by it! Now, in order to protect one of your own, you will go to any lengths. I was offered protection from only a few, including Randy Parker, and Gerry Dietz. Both of whom then became your targets.

The taxpayers in Sullivan County deserve justice. Many dedicated, honest & hardworking employees deserve justice. Each of you took an oath of office. You are elected to serve the public. Many of you ran to change the ways of Government. You ran on honesty, transparency, and fairness. Many of you are not worthy of the public’s trust. Many of you forgot why you were elected, or have succumbed your own agendas.

The resolution to authorize an investigation into just cause against Randy Parker is a witch hunt. You have paid for two investigations already, which you have kept under lock and key, because they didn’t go your way. How much are you willing to pay to get the answer you want? That is what it is really about.

I applaud Cindy Geiger, Cora Edwards, Gene Benson, Kitty Vetter, and Alan Sorensen, and any of the rest of you who have the courage to step up and rescind the resolution authorizing $175,000 of taxpayer funds to cover up decades of mismanagement, fraud, waste, and abuse. We the taxpayers deserve the truth.

We deserve a legislature that works for us. We want you to allow Randy Parker to do the job you hired him to do.

Kim Martin

To be continued.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.


8 comments to DFS Whistleblower Speaks Out

  • Yona

    I had similar experiences when I worked for DSS. One supervisor in particular and another who was her buddy. I suggest that expenses and hiring practices in Children’s Services be looked at very carefully for the past 20 years. Shocking.

  • Gabriel

    Don’t personally know any of the folks named here except for one. Cheryl McClausland you should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Erin Thilberg

    I find it very interesting that Kim Martin complained of working in a hostile environment. I was previously employed for a period of just over two year as a social welfare examiner in Sullivan County. I experienced a hostile working environment that started about a month after I began employment until i was forced to resign. The cause of my abuse was Kim Martin, I guess what they say about what goes around comes around. They do say karma’s a bitch. II truly wish there was a whistle blower that would have exposed her and her evil deeds back then. I would truly question if her statement represent the truth, and has anyone stepped forward in her defense? Probably not as she had few true friends only those who wanted to stay on her good side because trust me if she didn’t like you she made your day hell day after day after day.

    • Samantha Herring

      How blind are you to say no one has stepped up in her defense she has been backed throughout this whole process, especially regarding the Facebook page for the Sullivan County Post. This situation has gone on longer than anyone could know, and the only people ignorant enough to go against what she has said are guilty in one way or another; I mean why else would you say something against a person who is only doing what is best for this county. As for your force resignation or whatever you call it why don’t you tell everyone the true reason behind that. You made your own bed in that situation and I’m sure it’s been well used. As for your question of where was your whistleblower then why didn’t you feel the need to speak up then? Clearly someone would have listened because after all these years you are still crying about it. If there had been any truth to your accusations then there would have been something done about it because I know for a fact Kim who happens to be my mother is not only honorable but she is 100% especially when people wish she wasn’t.

    • Erin didn’t u resign after you were disciplined for forging a doctor note?

  • bluecollar taxpayer

    I think the entire county is corrupt and we need all new elected officials and I’m only 23 years old…..

  • Erin you claim that you were employed @ DFS for over 2 years , however you never showed up for work! In my book you committed fraud each time you cashed your pay check! By forging a Doctor’s note, identifies that you are the only one to blame for resigning.