Six Franklin County employees placed on paid leave after a former county manager's arrest are back at their jobs.
But Tim Fife, the county Public Works director and engineer, and Guy Walters, assistant Public Works director, remain on paid leave pending further review, said county commission Chairman Brad Peck.
The employees were put on paid leave Feb. 2 to make it easier for the state Attorney General's Office and Pasco police officials to investigate allegations that Dennis Huston, the former Public Works accounting and administrative director, embezzled more than $1 million from the county over the past decade.
The employees on paid leave have not been accused of wrongdoing.
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Six employees returned to their jobs at noon Feb. 16, Peck said. The names of the employees were not released by the county.
In a response to a request made by the Herald, county Prosecutor Shawn Sant said in a letter that access to the names are not available as the state Supreme Court has ruled that "employees' names are to remain confidential when allegations of wrongdoing are unsubstantiated."
The Herald was provided with the job titles and lengths of employment for those employees:
-- Two Public Works road supervisors -- one who is a six-year county employee and another who is a 16-year county employee.
-- Two Public Works assistant accountants who have each worked for the county for more than 20 years
-- An Information Services Department administrative secretary who has worked for the county for 1 1/2 years.
-- A Treasurer's Office administrative assistant who has worked for the county for four years.
Peck said he isn't sure when Fife and Walters will return to their jobs.
Peck said the county will be looking closely at Fife's and Walters' performance.
Because of their leadership positions in Public Works, they are held to higher standards in a situation like this, he said.
Until commissioners know what actions they did or didn't take, and to what extent their actions did or did not contribute to the alleged theft, it isn't possible to determine an appropriate re-sponse, he said.
Malcolm Bowie, Benton County's engineer, still is filling in part time as Franklin County's engineer, with some help from county Administrator Fred Bowen, Peck said.
The county Auditor's Office is helping with Public Works accounting, Peck said.
Huston was released from jail earlier this month when the state Attorney General's Office said it needed more time to investigate before filing charges. A suspect can be held for 72 hours without charges being filed.
Huston, who was fired Feb. 8, is accused of creating a bank account for Critzer Equipment, a company that went out of business in 2001. He had no association with the original company.
Documents said Huston, who served 21 months in prison for stealing government money in the 1980s, told investigators he was using money from invoices for county payments to Critzer Equipment to buy drugs.
When he was arrested, he reportedly had a blank check from the company and a small leather bag containing what Pasco police believe was cocaine.