Assistant administrator files harassment complaint against supervisor

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter


UPDATE - TUESDAY, MAY 22 — At the request of Nikki Shank, the protective order filed against Supervisor Bob Martin has been dismissed, according to court officials.

Shank had already been in court in the morning when Judge E.M. Turner III recused himself from the hearing the matter.

She returned to general district court after lunch to request that the matter be dismissed.

The Gazette tried to reach Shank to ask about the reason for the dismissal, but was unsuccessful.


UPDATE - TUESDAY, MAY 22 — An expected hearing on the emergency protective order requested by the Carroll assistant administrator against an elected county official Tuesday morning did not go forward as the general district court judge recused himself.

On May 16, Assistant Administrator Nikki Shank made a complaint for harassment and sought a protective order on Supervisor Bob Martin, alleging he had grabbed her on one occasion and exhibited rage towards her in conversations in her office and over the phone.

Judge E.M. Turner III explained from the bench to Shank that court officials were trying to arrange for a video conference hearing with another judge.

Turner said in open court he did not feel he could hear the matter because of his 36-year friendship with Martin.

When Shank asked if she could get a continuance, Turner answered because of the way protective orders are set up, if there wasn't a hearing on extending it on Tuesday, the protective order would just dissolve.

He advised Shank that she could return to the magistrate and ask for another protective order, if a video hearing with another judge couldn't be set up.



HILLSVILLE — Carroll County's assistant administrator has filed a complaint and an emergency protective order against Supervisor Bob Martin, alleging harassment — a charge that the elected official denies categorically.

Carroll General District Court papers show that Assistant Administrator Nikki Shank swore out a complaint May 16, alleging that Martin "grabbed my arm so tightly it was painful and I was concerned he had bruised me" on March 26.

"This is a bald-faced lie," Martin told The Gazette on Thursday, denying that he ever grabbed Shank.

He said he is willing to submit to a lie detector test about that accusation.

Martin represents the Pine Creek District on the Carroll County Board of Supervisors.

Shank's complaint goes on to say that Martin was allegedly very upset when he came into her office May 15, and made accusations against her.

"He stated that, 'I was not elected to the board of supervisors to sit in the bleachers, I will be on the floor playing one way or another — that is not a threat, it is a promise,'" according to the complaint.

Shank told the authorities that she considered that a threat based on what Martin had been saying to her.

Shank added that Martin allegedly called her later and made more allegations while "enraged."

She told authorities that Martin made statements like "'a liar is a liar' and 'a hypocrite is a hypocrite is a hypocrite' and 'do you want me to come tell you to your face?'" according to the court paper.

It was during this conversation that Shank said Martin was "harassing" her, according to her statement.

"The rage and aggression Mr. Martin expressed on the phone concerns me greatly," the court document says. "I am fearful of any actions he may take as a result of his rage."

In an interview with The Gazette, Martin does not deny that he had discussions with Shank in her office and on the phone.

The matters discussed were not accusations, but Martin's observations on what he perceives as a pattern of the county administrator's office not sharing all information with him, including information dealing with subjects pertinent to his position with the board of supervisors.

He named examples, such as information relating to the county and school budgets, attributed to Supervisor Phil McCraw in an article in a local newspaper.

Before Martin had even seen budget information, McCraw discussed in detail his thoughts about the tax impact of fully funding a request for $1.9 million from the schools.

"Common sense says the board members ought to get this stuff before it shows up in the paper," Martin told The Gazette.

He also shared with Shank, during an in-person conversation, his concerns about the way that a deal to buy the former Kentucky Derby Hosiery buildings for $1.6 million was handled in closed session by the supervisors.

(In the end, the Industrial Development Authority made the offer.)

Martin's third concern involved the Franklin County commonwealth's attorney issuing an opinion about Supervisor Joshua Hendrick's conflict of interest in working for Nehemiah Engineering, which performs construction inspections for the Fancy Gap water and sewer projects, and serving on the county board.

While that opinion was shared with Carroll County officials before a board of supervisors meeting Monday, neither Hendrick nor Martin learned about it until Tuesday, Martin said.

After learning this information on Tuesday, having already had a conversation with Shank in her office that morning, Martin said he spoke to the assistant administrator over the phone.

"I pick up the phone and I call her," Martin said, characterizing his tone as all business. "Let me tell you, I didn't tell any jokes or Shorts Creek stories like I usually do."

Martin said he asked Shank point blank if she knew at the meeting about the conflict of interest opinion, Martin said. He described her answer as “hemming and hawing.”

He agrees that he told Shank that he wasn't going to sit on the sidelines in the so-called “game” with the board of supervisors.

"I'm going to have my say for the people of Pine Creek," he told The Gazette. "And that's exactly what I meant by it."

This allegation could jeopardize his employment with Carroll County Public Schools, just as he is being considered for a position as principal, Martin said.

"Here I sit with an unsubstantiated, libelous charge, hung out there," he said. "I categorically deny it and I'm concerned because with 33 years of working with thousands of children, hundreds of female teachers, many male teachers and hundreds of parents over the years, I never had an accusation like this made."



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