It’s been just a few days since the Ontario County Board of Supervisors shored up a special committee and launched a probe into Sheriff Kevin Henderson’s administration, amid months of complaints and HR issues.
The entire ordeal, which has been playing out for months behind the scenes, became public knowledge early last week when Sheriff Henderson preemptively released a statement – noting that he was asked to resign, but would not do so despite threats of retaliation.
At a meeting Thursday, the Board of Supervisors, led by Chairman Jack Marren, launched an investigation into the claims and Henderson’s administration. Undersheriff David Frasca had already resigned at that point.
Who’s on the committee that will investigation the allegations against Sheriff Henderson?
– Supervisor Todd Campbell, West Bloomfield, Chair
– Supervisor Peter Ingalsbe, Farmington
– Supervisor Daniel Marshall, South Bristol
– Supervisor Kristine Singer, Canadice
– Supervisor Dominick Vedora, Geneva
The special committee, which will investigate and have subpoena power is made up of four Republicans and a lone Democrat.
What do we know about the allegations? How long were they being reported?
Sheriff Henderson is a Democrat, who succeeded longtime Sheriff Phil Povero, a Republican. The behind the scenes investigation was prompted by those complaints to the County’s anonymous complaint line.
Among the allegations: Sheriff Henderson making comments of a sexual nature to employees, as well as those of racial and homophobic tint. It’s unclear if the Sheriff himself is accused of making the comments – as the allegations also accuse Henderson of not doing anything to stop comments made by others – or enforce discipline.
The Board approved an outside agency to conduct that investigation. However, the reason for it was never publicized, nor have any of the findings of that report been released to the public.
Henderson’s term is up next year, and last week, it became public knowledge that the Board of Supervisors sought his resignation. In a statement Henderson said that he would not resign, but encouraged and supports an independent investigation into the allegations laid out by the Board.
What’s next for the sheriff’s office and Board of Supervisors?
“It’s a bad situation for the county and the employees in that department,” Administrator Chris DeBolt said. “The board took the steps that we needed to take to move this forward.”
“We don’t want to put our employees in an uncomfortable position. I do nothing but applaud them for their courage in coming forward,” Chairman Marren told MPNNow.com. “We continue to be committed to the men and women of our sheriff’s department as well as the residents of Ontario County.”
Henderson is in his 38th year with the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office; and according to earlier reporting – issues within the sheriff’s office may pre-date Henderson’s arrival as sheriff.
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