Lincoln County's administrator has been placed on administrative leave with pay and is under investigation by authorities.
Lincoln County Commissioner K.K. Matthews confirmed that Judy Johnson, who has served as county administrator since 2009, was placed on leave. He could not say why, citing personnel issues.
Commission President Charles Vance would not confirm that Johnson had been placed on leave.
However, he did say that one commission employee was placed on paid administrative leave on Friday to "ensure the integrity" of an ongoing investigation.
"We're not saying that the person is guilty or innocent," Vance said.
Johnson makes about $39,000 annually as county administrator.
Johnson could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Jack Stevens, a Lincoln County prosecuting attorney for 16 years, hotly denies any wrongdoing on her part.
Stevens added that political factions in the courthouse that are trying to get Johnson "terminated" are targeting his client.
"My client and I believe this is politically motivated," he said.
Stevens claims some county officials recently campaigned on the premise that they would fire Johnson if they were elected.
Although he would not specifically identify the individuals, both Matthews and Vance ran for seats on the county commission during the last campaign.
Two commissioners were vying for seats because Vance was running to fill the unexpired term of Thomas Ramey Jr. Ramey pleaded guilty to making a false statement to an FBI agent to cover up his role in an election fraud case.
Commissioners unanimously voted on Thursday to authorize the president to place employees being investigated for wrongdoing on administrative leave, Commissioner Charles McCann said.
However, McCann would not confirm that Johnson had been placed on leave. He would also not say what exactly was being investigated.
"We're looking into some issues," McCann said.
However, he did confirm that State Police and the Lincoln County prosecuting attorney's office were investigating issues in the commission's office.
"The commission has not taken any official stance on this investigation," he said.