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Central County Emergency 911 dispatch center hit with lawsuit

By: Jim Erickson

A consultant, whose agreement with Central County Emergency 911 was terminated more than a year ago, has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was the target of libelous statements and breach of contract.

Specifically named in the lawsuit filed by Colleen Dealey are Timothy Flora and other members of the CCE Board of Directors as well as Mike Turner, the dispatch center’s executive director. Dealey is seeking $40,800, costs, attorney fees and other relief on each of the action’s three counts and punitive damages from Flora, Turner and CCE on two of the counts involving libel and conspiracy to commit libel.

The lawsuit recounts Dealey’s work with the dispatch center beginning in October 2012 when she was hired to provide technical expertise as CCE expanded its operations. The first contract was extended twice, the second time in June 2013 for an additional six months. However, the CCE board terminated Dealey’s consulting contract just three months later.

The termination came after a number of events described in the lawsuit including:

• Flora’s efforts to provide information to the board suggesting that Dealey hadn’t disclosed a conflict of interest from her ownership of a software development company with Ernie Rhodes, chief of the West County EMS and Fire Protection District.According to the lawsuit, Flora also accused Dealey of receiving kickbacks from CCE vendors through the software company and for billing CCE for more than her contract specified.

• Flora’s asking for and then receiving a forensic copy of the hard drive from Dealey’s laptop computer. The copy included not only Dealey’s billing records and various reports but also confidential medical and other personal information from EMS calls handled by the various agencies dispatched by CCE.

• The discovery that a person employed at the center during Dealey’s tenure used CCE facilities to host websites with adult content and the failure of Turner to inform the CCE board on a timely basis, even though Dealey says she advised him to do so.

• Dealey and Turner differing on a number of issues, including lack of accountability and network security, overspending on the expansion effort and Turner’s alleged inability to provide the CCE board with accurate information on important matters.

Asked about the lawsuit’s allegations, Turner declined to comment, but Flora issued a statement saying: “Ms. Dealey’s lawsuit is totally without merit. She is asking (CCE) to pay her for work she never performed. Right now she is hoping that the CCE board of directors will choose to pay her to avoid the costs of litigation. If the board declines to pay her, we expect her to withdraw her claims. We plan to file a counterclaim against Ms. Dealey, and I fully expect that she will dismiss her claims before she has to testify under oath.”

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