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Grievance against Clark County chief deputy: Hiring process ‘tainted’

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy resigned Friday amid an investigation and after two grievances were filed against him.

Chief Deputy Travis Russell had been second-in-command since Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett took office in January 2017.

FIRST REPORT: Clark County chief deputy resigns amid internal investigation

“We are doing an internal investigation and we can’t give out any information until it’s complete,” Burchett said.

The office also is investigating two other deputies, Burchett said, but she didn’t name them.

Russell didn’t return messages left for him by the Springfield News-Sun.

He resigned a day after two grievances were filed against him by deputies. In the grievance, obtained by the Springfield News-Sun through a public records request, Deputy Scott Cultice and Deputy Jonathan Snyder alleged Russell gave two deputies questions and answers for interviews for three open detective slots.

“I received unequal opportunities for the chance to obtain investigation position,” Cultice says in the grievance. “Article five states equal opportunity for all employees but advantages were given to some by the chief deputy. This violates article five.”

READ: Clark County deputies worry jail’s low hot water a safety threat

Cultice declined to comment to the News-Sun. He sent an email to the sheriff’s office on Friday afternoon withdrawing his grievance, about two hours after Russell resigned.

Snyder named two deputies, Josh Cumby and Nick Moody, in his grievance — alleging Russell gave those deputies the questions that would be asked during the interviews, along with the answers.

“This has now tainted the process,” Snyder says in the grievance.

Snyder, Cumby and Moody didn’t return phone calls seeking comment Friday.

The hiring process is now unfair, Snyder says in the grievance.

“I feel that the violations of the above articles were done deliberately to achieve the sole purpose to benefit a select few of the administration,” Snyder says in the grievance. “These actions have jeopardized the integrity, ethics and trust that we have in our administration.”

The deputies involved shouldn’t get prompted, Synder also says in the grievance.

MORE: Does Clark County need new jail amid overcrowding?

“The two deputies that were provided and used the question and answers (should) not be permitted to participate in any further interviews for the posted positions,” Snyder says in his grievance.

In a March 19 email from Russell obtained by the Springfield News-Sun, he says he has cancelled the interviews after talking to the union.

“During the interview process, it was brought to my attention that a certain member of the panel appeared to (be) showing bias during the scoring process … All of you who have interviewed, I apologize for this unfortunate behavior,” Russell says in the email

A statement from the sheriff’s office said the office wouldn’t make any further comments out of respect for the investigation. The office hasn’t determined what outside agency will do the investigation, Clark County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Chris Clark said.

Russell in a resignation letter says he enjoyed his time working at the office.

EXTRA: Photographer shot by Clark County deputy claims lost wages, pain

“Effective Monday, March 26, I am resigning my position as the chief deputy of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office,” Russell wrote. “It was an absolute pleasure serving you and the citizens of this community. I wish you and your office the very best.”

The office hasn’t appointed a replacement for Russell, Burchett said.

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