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Fleming seen to pack up his desk; but what of cell phone?

Madera County Chief Administrative Officer Eric J. Fleming’s resignation was accepted effective immediately by the Board of Supervisors after a Friday morning closed session meeting held on Dec. 13. Fleming was seen packing up his office Friday afternoon by witnesses.

In a written statement the Board of Supervisors declined to comment publicly, but thanked Fleming for his 10 years of service and wished him well in his future endeavors.

Two standard items were listed for the closed session discussion: Conference with legal counsel — Anticipated Litigation and Public Employee and Discipline/Dismissal/Release.

The off-schedule meeting was held after residents and long time elected official Rebecca Martinez, County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters, publicly demanded at Tuesday’s Public Comment that Fleming be terminated, after many allegations by county employees and others, of ongoing bullying, intimidation and harassing behavior by Fleming in his role as CAO came to light.

“ ... This board has supported and trusted this CAO for years to the detriment of his accusers. Frankly, I don’t know how we will have the ability to rightfully discipline employees when they have violated county policy, if you continue to allow the person holding one of the highest positions of trust in the county to violate without consequence ... you have to own this and do the right thing for the people you serve. This is your chance to right the wrongs,” she said in part, as the room broke into applause.

“At some point, you (supervisors) knew there were issues (with Fleming’s behavior) and you elected to turn a blind eye. You, as a board, own this,” said Martinez.

Martinez also laid the blame squarely on the Madera County Board of Supervisors for ignoring and allowing the alleged behavior of the CAO to continue un-investigated or unchecked.

A request for comment to board Chair Brett Frazier regarding the status and possession of Fleming’s county-issued cell phone and phone number were not answered as of press time.

Employees and residents are claiming that if true, allowing Fleming to retain the county phone and or contacts could impede future investigations, if any, and allow Fleming continued undue access to county employees, vendors and contractors, some of which he selected and or hired.

Deputy CAO Darin McCandless has assumed the position of acting CAO. The board was set to consider the appointment of an interim CAO at its regular meeting on Dec. 17, as the board begins the search for a new CAO.

To contact or leave a message for a Madera County Supervisor, please call the Office of Madera County Supervisors at 675-7700.

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