Outgoing Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer stated in an email to all staff in the office Monday morning that they would have their employment terminated when his term ends on Nov. 30.
As for their possible continued employment with the PVA office, Lindauer added that they would soon receive an email from his chief of staff Colleen Younger, a fellow Democrat who was elected to replace him two weeks ago and would soon be responsible for hiring back employees or replacing them.
Lindauer did not return a phone message from Insider Louisville asking about the email.
Staff in each county’s PVA office are non-merit state employees, meaning that they serve at the will of the administrator, but there is no requirement in state law for such employees to have to reapply for their jobs when a new administrator comes into office. There are currently 59 employees in the Jefferson County PVA, the largest in the state.
At least two current employees of the Jefferson County PVA’s office have filed complaints with the state this year asserting wrongdoing by Lindauer and Younger.
In March, an anonymous complaint was filed against Lindauer’s office with the state’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Contract Compliance, which investigates discrimination, sexual harassment and violations of equal opportunity programs. A spokeswoman with the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet told Insider on Monday that the state has finished its report on this investigation, but is being reviewed by attorneys before it is finalized and released.
Last month, the PVA office’s longtime chief financial officer Harold Thomas also filed a complaint with the state against Younger, asserting that she improperly accessed a nonpublic data service in the office to conduct research against John May, her Republican opponent in this year’s PVA race that she went on to defeat by a large margin two weeks ago.
In Lindauer’s email to all PVA staff that was shared with Insider, he offered his thanks and appreciation “to each of you for your public service to our community under my tenure as PVA.” He then went on to state his term officially ended on Nov. 30, “so all staff will be terminated as of that date.”
“Colleen Younger officially takes office as the new PVA on the third of December,” stated Lindauer. “You will receive an email from Colleen regarding continuing employment with the Jefferson County PVA following this email. Again, I want to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for sharing this journey with me and my family.”
Younger told Insider after this story was published that a PVA letting the entire staff go before a new PVA takes office is “very standard operating procedure,” saying that all of their employees serve at the pleasure of the PVA. She also said that Mayor Greg Fischer made the same move when he was first elected to that office, as he “asked everyone to reapply and come with their resumes, and we are following the same type of process.”
She added that all PVA employees will receive an email from her at some point on Monday and they have until Nov. 26 to reapply. She said that employees that are retained will likely be notified by her before Nov. 30, but she had “no idea” how many would be rehired.
Asked if employees like Thomas that filed complaints against her and Lindauer could be guaranteed that they would get their jobs back, Younger would only say that every employee would be re-evaluated.
Fayette County PVA David O’Neill told Insider that when he was first appointed to the office in 2009, he made a point of not firing or asking for the resignations of all staff, despite a number of them being hostile to him, though he did replace a couple of employees.
Lindauer announced just before the filing deadline this year that he would not run for a fourth term as PVA, while Younger, his chief of staff for the past seven years, announced that same day that she would run for the office. Younger defeated May by winning over 60 percent of the vote.
This story has been updated with Younger’s comments.