Former Washington County finance director hired as Ellsworth Electric CFO

A little more than two months after being fired by Washington County commissioners over an alleged “unauthorized” $250,000 loan, former Washington County Finance Director Debra Murray is set to begin a new job on Tuesday as the chief financial officer at Ellsworth Electric, Inc.

Ellsworth Electric is a family-owned Hagerstown business, providing electrical contracting services for large commercial construction projects, according to the company’s website.

Longtime Washington County Commissioner John Barr is the current president/owner of the company.

Mrs. Murray was one of two county employees fired on October 24, 2017, by the all-male five-member commissioner board by a 5-0 vote shortly after county officials learned about an alleged “unauthorized” $250,000 loan to a West Virginia contractor developing a waste-to-energy project at the county’s Forty West Landfill.

Mrs. Murray is married to former Washington County Administrator Greg Murray.

Greg Murray was essentially terminated under dubious circumstances in early 2017 by three of the five county commissioners.

Embattled Commissioner LeRoy E. Myers Jr., who is being sued for sexual assault by former Washington County Assistant County Administrator Sarah Lankford-Sprecher, led the charge to remove Mr. Murray from his post prematurely, forcing Murray into planned retirement. Myers’ barrage against Murray was backed by Commissioners president Terry Baker and Commissioner Wayne Keefer.

Greg Murray told Herald-Mail Media last October that “county policy doesn’t require the commissioners to approve the loan.”

“It was a matter of providing cash flow so the design could be completed after the project hit a snag when the Maryland Department of the Environment wanted to process the permits all at once rather than in phases,” Murray told Herald-Mail Media reporter Julie E Greene.

Sources have told A Miner Detail that Mrs. Murray intends to file a lawsuit against Washington County government for wrongful termination.

A Miner Detail requested comment from Mrs. Murray on Monday, asking the former county finance director how she feels about working with Commissioner Barr’s company after he voted to terminate her and whether she is planning to sue the county for wrongful termination.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to use my skills to support a quality company with quality ownership and staff. I am unable to comment at this time on any action regarding wrongful termination [with the county],” Murray told A Miner Detail on Monday.

Mrs. Murray was removed from her post soon after the sexual harassment report was presented to the county, indicating that witnesses confirmed that Commissioner Myers was guilty of misconduct.

An email request for comment to Commissioner Barr has gone unanswered.

Mrs. Murray worked for Washington County government for 24.7 years.