The Deschutes County sheriff announced Monday the lieutenant who’s earned six figures since being placed on leave 20 months ago has agreed to accept a severance package and retire.
Tim Leak will walk away with $33,000 in exchange for releasing all claims of wrongdoing against the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. He’s so far collected $238,161.71 in salary paid by the sheriff’s office while he has been on administrative leave.
His retirement will be effective Feb. 28.
In the news release announcing the agreement, Sheriff Shane Nelson is quoted as saying, “People who do not fall in line with the Mission and Values of this office will not work here,” he wrote. “This is a business decision I have made to end this matter and continue to move the Sheriff’s Office forward. We are learning from our past and following the course we have charted for the future.”
Leak was placed on paid leave May 17, 2016, for alleged policy violations. But by December 2017, he still hadn’t been interviewed for the investigation into those alleged violations.
Nelson has declined to say what allegations were being investigated but said they were not criminal.
Leak disputed the validity of the investigation, and in a complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, he accused Nelson of harassment. In the complaint, Leak said he was put on leave for “creating a hostile work environment” due to a comment he made over the police radio. The labor complaint was dismissed in September for lack of evidence.
Leak’s departure from the sheriff’s office is the latest in a string of investigations and firings.
Last month, Nelson announced he had terminated Eric Kozowski as a deputy. Kozowski alleged Nelson unfairly targeted him after he ran unsuccessfully against Nelson for sheriff as a reform candidate. He was the seventh person fired by Nelson since Nelson assumed office in 2015. Several others have quit upon becoming the subjects of internal investigations.
Also Monday, Kozowski filed suit in federal court against Nelson for retaliation against a whistleblower and wrongful discharge.
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