UPDATE: Lincoln Circuit Clerk suspended pending investigation of complaint
Published 6:20 pm Monday, March 27, 2023
Recently-elected Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Dwight Hopkins has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into a complaint.
That’s according to Jim Hannah, Communications Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Hannah provided a statement Monday on the ongoing investigation.
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“Chief Justice of the Commonwealth Laurance B. VanMeter has placed Lincoln County Circuit Court Clerk Dwight Hopkins on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into a complaint,” Hannah said. “The administrative leave is not a punitive action and is intended solely to ensure workplace safety and preserve the integrity of the investigation.”
Details into the nature of the complaint could not be released, according to Hannah.
“We cannot provide any additional details regarding the complaint because it’s confidential at the time, and it’s part of an ongoing investigation,” he said.
When asked how long the investigation will take, Hannah referred the newspaper to 3.03 (7) of the Kentucky Court of Justice Personnel policies.
Section 3.03 pertains to unlawful workplace harassment which is defined as “unwelcome or unsolicited speech or conduct based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by law that creates a hostile work environment.”
The section also defines “hostile work environment,” “quid pro quo harassment” and “retaliation.”
Section 3.03 (7) explains the complaint process.
“The HR Director or designee, in cooperation with the General Counsel or designee, will coordinate and conduct an investigation,” the policy states. “…The investigation will include interviews with all relevant individuals, including the alleged harasser.”
The HR Director or designee will have 45 calendar days to complete the investigation.
Within 15 days of completing the investigation, the HR Director or designee will present his or her written report to the alleged harasser and allow the accused an opportunity to submit a written response, including the right to provide documentary evidence and identify individuals who may have relevant information.
The alleged harasser will have 15 calendar days to submit a written response and supporting documentation.
Within 15 days of receiving a response, a final report with findings and recommendations, as well as the alleged harasser’s response, will be presented to the AOC Director.
If the alleged harasser is an elected official, the AOC Director will submit the investigative findings to the Chief Justice.
Hopkins was elected in the 2022 November election and was sworn in as Lincoln County Circuit Clerk on Nov.14.
Hannah said while Hopkins remains on paid administrative lead, Garrard County Circuit Clerk Dana Hensley will serve as Special Circuit Clerk of Lincoln County.
The Kentucky Supreme Court signed an order March 24 which designated Hensley and increased her pay by 15 percent.