The Guilday law firm in Destin has been retained to represent a second Walton County employee who has filed a complaint against County Commission Chair Cecilia Jones.
Brad Alford, facilities manager with the Public Works Department, has worked for the county for 13 years.
His attorney, Jennifer Sullivan, stated in the complaint that her client is reporting suspected violations of the law, gross mismanagement and malfeasance on Jones' behalf.
Examples are given of Jones regularly inserting herself in day-to-day operations or uses her husband to do so, which Alford stated in the complaint are for the betterment of the commissioner, her family or friends.
Alford also claimed he was demoted at Jones' suggestion.
Alford claimed Jones' husband had followed him into another county as he was going to coach basketball and that he was told to stop coaching.
According to the complaint, Jones directed the construction of a waterfront park adjacent to her home on North Eden Park Drive. When the public began to use it, she directed a fence be built around it so that it is not accessible except by walkers or bikers.
Sullivan stated in the complaint that the activities reported by Alford and other county employees show a pattern of behavior by Jones and/or the county that wreaks of misuse of public office and/or interference or injection into day-to-day operations, and retaliatory action against employees for performing their jobs, including through third-party intermediaries.
Sullivan stated she believes more county employees will step forward to make reports. She requested that County Administrator Larry Jones appoint an independent investigator to conduct a thorough investigation of the issues raised by Alford and other employees.
"It would be inappropriate for Commissioner Jones to be involved in directing such investigation," stated Sullivan.
Attempts to contact Alford and Larry Jones for comment were unsuccessful.
"We take such matters seriously and have engaged outside legal counsel to investigate this situation," said Cecilia Jones. "The investigation is under way, giving all parties an opportunity to be heard, and on the advice of counsel, we have no further comment until the investigation is complete."