Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck responded Wednesday to a third grievance filed against him.
It is the second grievance filed on behalf of Lieutenant Robin Holt. Holt accuses Cradduck of engaging in a calculated campaign to retaliate against and threaten her, as well as other whistle blowers, and that he has created a hostile work environment. Holt also claims Cradduck, who is currently running for reelection, keeps a list of employees that he plans to fire after the election in March.
Cradduck said the claims are ridiculous.
“I think it would be bush-league for me to be reelected and then the next day fire everyone who was involved in that hearing. Like I told them and tried to reassure them in that meeting that you are all safe, as long as you’re doing your job,” he said.
In the grievance, Holt also accuses Cradduck of mocking her and the first grievance hearing. She says he addresses his wife Sabrina over the public announcement system as “She-riff” and jokingly requests employees to address her as the “She-riff.”
“Unprofessional behavior, I’m not quite sure what she’s talking about. I would consider being paid in uniform, making fun of rape victims not so professional,” Cradduck said in reference to Holt’s accusation. “I have made light of some of the things, the petty things that they were calling my wife, because quite honestly it is a little funny, but it’s not anything that is used to harass anyone.”
Sheriff Cradduck said he plans to attend any future grievance hearings and admits not attending the first one was a mistake.
In November, the Benton County grievance council unanimously agreed Sheriff Cradduck retaliated against Holt and Captain Jeremy Guyll for their cooperation in an ongoing state police investigation. State police are investigating claims that Cradduck falsified employee records.
Cradduck reinstated both Holt and Guyll to their positions the next day. The sheriff maintains he demoted them for unprofessional conduct, stemming from a video they made that he says made fun of rape victims.
Don Kendall of Kendall Law Firm represents Lt. Holt. Kendall tells KNWA/Fox 24 that while they aren’t sure if the grievance committee will hear their case in this latest filing, they are looking at all of their options.
“If they decline to hear it then that, we’ve exhausted our administrative remedies and we have the right then to go in to court. This is about protecting employee’s rights.”
The grievance committee has until February 2 to decide if it will hear the case.