POTTER COUNTY — Commissioners approved a $195,000 settlement agreement with a former corrections officer at the Potter County Jail.
The county will pay out $145,000 and its insurance will pay an additional $50,000 to Roy Hunt and his attorney, Commissioner Nancy Grupp said.
“The settlement is made solely to avoid the burdens and expenses of further litigation and the county makes no admission of any violation of Mr. Hunt’s rights. Mr. Hunt will grant full release to the county,” Grupp said.
Hunt declined to comment.
According to court documents, in November 2018, Hunt filed a four-count complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Potter County. Hunt was a corrections officer at the jail in 2015 and later that year campaigned for Potter County Sheriff, running in the primary against Glenn Drake II and another corrections officer, Ralph Briggs Sr. Drake won the primary election in May 2015 and the general election in November 2015.
Nine days after Drake was sworn into office, he fired Briggs, according to court documents. Hunt was the union representative at the time and filed a grievance, challenging the termination, court documents state. About a week after that, Hunt was “disciplined for violating the Jail’s policy on employee cell phone use,” and filed a grievance challenging that, documents state.
Documents state Hunt went to the county commissioners at the time and reported officers had allegedly been sleeping on the job, as Briggs had been reprimanded for similar behavior. Shortly thereafter, Drake fired Hunt.
Hunt alleged that the discipline imposed on him was in retaliation for his decision to campaign for Potter County Sheriff against Drake, for speech made in connection with that campaign and for speech made in his role as union representative.
Commissioners settled with Briggs as well, when the board approved a confidential settlement and release agreement at the Feb. 27, 2020 commissioners meeting.
This article has been updated.