CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Just two days after a removal hearing on Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde was postponed, administrative leave notices have been served on 4 employees who are witnesses or alleged victims in a criminal case against the sheriff, despite restrictions in a restraining order on taking any retaliatory actions.

The notices state the paid leaves are in accordance with sheriff’s office policy and are done “in consideration of their involvement in legal proceedings against the sheriff.”

The sheriff’s captain issuing the leaves said they are being put in effect not in retaliation but to enable the sheriff to continue to do his job, and do not affect employees’ pay, employment, rank or evaluations.

Captain Randy Hanson said they being done to make sure the sheriff can comply with the temporary restraining order and also his bail bond conditions, which prohibit Lyde from being in contact with the three female employees named in the sexual harassment charges filed against him.

Hanson said he completed the final of the leave notices this afternoon and does not anticipate more will be served. The leaves are in effect indefinitely.

Under the notices, the employees are to turn in their vehicles and keys and will not be allowed to perform any county business while on leave.

They must report daily to Captain Hanson by phone and be available during regular work hours in the event their input or services are needed.

We contacted County Judge Mike Campbell, who said the attorneys involved in the removal suit are aware of the action and are looking into the legality, and that the four employees are obviously worried and maybe at a loss at this point on what to do.

Besides the three alleged victims, Investigator William Norris was also put on administrative leave.