County's two top administrators, David Edge and Gail Wilcox, put on paid administrative leave

County Administrative Officer David Edge and his second-in-command, Gail Wilcox, have been placed on paid administrative leave indefinitely, and the administrative office now reports directly to the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors placed Edge on leave Thursday, and Wilcox on Monday.

Board Chairman Bruce Gibson, who confirmed the leaves, said such leaves are generally applied "for investigation of personnel issues."

Gibson said the law prohibits him from discussing the particulars of the Edge and Wilcox leaves.

But Edge, responding to comments published on a local Web site, denied that he has resigned or has been asked to resign.

Speaking with The Tribune, Edge called the story "a sleaze piece" and said it was inaccurate.

The Web site quoted an anonymous source as saying that Edge had resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment made by Wilcox, the assistant county administrative officer.

The Tribune received an anonymous tip Monday evening that raised the sexual harassment allegation. The paper sought to verify the tip, but of ficials declined to substantiate it. Also, it was unknown at that time that Edge and Wilcox had been placed on leave.

Wilcox could not be reached Tuesday. A message from her e-mail said she would be out of the office until June 1.

Edge left Tuesday to see his son graduate from college back east.

But before he departed, Edge told The Tribune he does not intend to leave his post. He said he could not comment on the sexual harassment allegations, other than to say that he has not been sued "to my knowledge."

He said "the issue" -- which he declined to describe -- "is likely to be resolved within a week."

Meanwhile, the county continued to circle the wagons around the controversy, which began coming to light Friday when the supervisors called an unexpected executive session.

Supervisors went behind closed doors at 3 p. m. Friday to discuss "anticipated litigation" and "significant exposure to litigation." Governments are allowed to discuss several things in private, including lawsuits and personnel matters.

Executive sessions of the Board of Supervisors generally last an hour or two. This one broke up at 7 p. m. Friday, and the supervisors rolled it over to Monday, when they met from 8 a. m. to 2 p. m.

County Counsel Warren Jensen would say only that "no reportable action was taken."

Edge, who will turn 57 on the Fourth of July, has been county administrative officer for a decade. He has said frequently in recent years that he would like to retire but did not want to leave the county when it was in the midst of a fiscal crisis.