Benton seeks 2 million from county

first_imgSen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, and two former subordinates have signaled to Clark County that they intend to file a lawsuit for what’s described as hostility and retaliation the trio experienced before losing their jobs at the county’s now eliminated Department of Environmental Services.All three were part of a series of hires orchestrated by County Councilors David Madore and Tom Mielke that were derided as political favors.Three nearly identical tort claims, which signal an intention to sue, were filed Oct. 19 with the county’s Risk Management Division on behalf of Benton along with Susan Rice and Christopher Clifford. The claims state that each suffered economic damages, ongoing medical expenses, reduced employability and emotional distress from working at the county.Benton and Clifford both seek $2 million each in damages and attorney’s fees. Rice seeks $1 million.The claims take aim at County Manager Mark McCauley as being especially abusive. The new county charter approved by voters in 2014, after the three claimants had received their county jobs, gives McCauley authority to hire and fire personnel.“I’m not at all surprised at all,” McCauley said Friday before declining to comment further. “We’re a litigious society.”County Risk Manager Mark Wilsdon also declined to comment.Benton was hired as director of the Department of Environmental Services in 2013. He received “high compliments” from former County Administrator Bill Barron regarding his job performance, according to the claims. After McCauley took over as acting county manager, he approved Benton’s telecommuting and flex hours to allow him to serve in the 2015 Legislature, according to the claims. During the legislative session, Benton said he worked weekends and 15-hour days while receiving positive performance evaluations, according to the claims.last_img read more