Former county employee who prompted state audit sues commissioner

·2 min read

Jun. 10—A former Cleveland County employee — whose alleged actions prompted officials to ask the state for an audit — filed a lawsuit Friday accusing a county commissioner of keeping his personal supplies after he was fired.

Allen Shetley filed a lawsuit Friday in Cleveland County District Court against District 3 Commissioner Harold Haralson, alleging Haralson is "wrongfully in possession" of personal supplies Shetley bought with his own money.

Shetley was fired earlier this year after an employee told Haralson in January that Shetley met suppliers at the District 3 barn on days off and may have been stealing fuel and parts from the county. Shetley was fired because his boss "could not prove anything," according to a report Haralson filed with the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office.

Haralson requested the state audit Cleveland County "out of an abundance of caution" after Shetley's reported actions, county public information officer Joy Hampton said. Prosecutors have not filed criminal charges against Shetley as of Friday.

In his lawsuit, Shetley alleges the county has kept several supplies. including a floor jack, an impact gun, batteries, chargers, hand tools, fittings, tire gauges and an LED light after his termination. The supplies are valued at $2,591, according to the lawsuit.

"He has my stuff," Shetley said. "He does, or someone does from the county."

Shetley claims he asked for his supplies back "several times," but the county has not answered any of his phone calls.

When The Transcript asked Haralson for response to the lawsuit Friday, Hampton said it is not county policy to comment on pending litigation.

Shetley also said the report Haralson filed earlier this year was false. He said he had "no reason" to steal the supplies reported.

When asked about the report in February, Haralson said he "cannot comment on personnel matters," but that the county has and will protect taxpayers.

State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd said she expects the reported theft will be addressed in the state's annual audit.