Bedford DA fires three staffers

BEDFORD — Bedford County’s newly-appointed district attorney has fired three staff members in her office without explanation.

Lesley Childers-Potts, in a press release distributed Friday night, revealed her decision to terminate the employees who she declined to name at this time. Because the staff members are county employees, their names and effective termination dates should become available as they will be part of the county’s public records.

Childers-Potts has been the county’s district attorney since April 4 when Bill Higgins resigned after criminal charges were filed against him. Based on the results of an investigation, the state attorney general’s office accused Higgins of exchanging sexual favors with drug dealers and their friends for lighter sentence recommendations. Higgins is challenging the charges.

Two days after being sworn in, Childers-Potts put all office staff members on administrative leave and said that she would be considering each one’s future employment. Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Thomas was back to work on April 10, WJAC-TV reported last week.

In an interview Friday with the Altoona Mirror, for a story published Sunday, Childers-Potts said her goal is to re-establish and re-gain trust in the district attorney’s office.

“These types of (termination) decisions are never easy, especially when the employee has served the county for an extended period of time,” Childers-Potts said. “Unfortunately, to move toward restoring the public trust in this office, the terminations were necessary.”