Clallam County prosecuting attorney to seek another term

Mark Nichols

Mark Nichols

PORT ANGELES — Republican Mark Nichols will seek a second four-year term as Clallam County prosecuting attorney, he said Thursday.

“I’ve had a number of people ask me if I’m planning on running again,” said Nichols, 46, a Port Angeles-area resident and a former Republican precinct committee officer.

“I figured there’s no better time to declare than now.

“I’m proud of my record. We’ve done a lot to keep citizens safe.”

Filing week for the Nov. 6 general election is May 14-18, little more than seven weeks away.

A half-dozen countywide elected positions such as prosecuting attorney are up for grabs.

Among his accomplishments, Nichols cited adding a felony trial attorney to his staff, increasing the number of felony cases filed by more than 10 percent, reducing the felony-case backlog and expanding services for crime victims and witnesses.

Expansion

Nichols, who also serves as county coroner, touted his expansion of prosecuting attorney’s office statistics on the agency’s website accessed through www.clallam.net and the addition of suicide and mortality information to the online data available to the public and to medical professionals.

In the next four years, Nichols wants to establish a mental health court to address issues confronting those with mental health problems who must cycle through the justice system.

He said funding the court might require a redistribution of existing money, with county commissioners a key part of the discussion.

A Seattle native and graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law, Nichols was elected in 2014, defeating then-appointed Prosecuting Attorney William Payne.

Nichols was appointed chief civil deputy prosecuting attorney in 2006, resigning in 2014 after county commissioners chose Payne over Nichols to succeed Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Kelly, who left her position with one year left on her term.

In 2012, Clallam County paid a $1.6 million settlement to resolve an age and disability discrimination lawsuit that four former prosecuting attorney’s office employees filed in 2009 against Nichols and Kelly in federal District Court.

Nichols and Kelly denied any wrongdoing.

Nichols is currently being sued for unspecified damages and attorneys’ fees in a June 1, 2017 federal District Court sexual harassment complaint filed by former Office Manager Tina Hendrickson.

Hendrickson alleged she was denied a raise after she rejected Nichols “romantic and sexual overtures” beginning in April 2015.

She said Nichols created a hostile work environment that led to her termination following her repeated insistence that he stop making the advances and while, as prosecuting attorney, he was her supervisor.

Nichols said in his answer to the complaint that he told her he wanted a romantic relationship but denied her other claims, including making overtures after she said she was not interested.

An investigator hired by the county concluded Nichols’ conduct “did not constitute harassment or retaliation under the county’s policy,” county Human Resources Manager Rich Sill told Peninsula Daily News on June 9.

A 10-day jury trial begins Oct. 16, the day before ballots are mailed for the Nov. 6 general election.

“I don’t believe that I have done anything wrong, and I am following the process,” Nichols said.

“I have been above board and forthright throughout, and I will continue to be so.”

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Investigators seeking woman who used ATM

Items involved in officer-involved shooting sent to state crime lab

Benji Astrachan of Sisterland Farms collects bins of unwanted food collected by restaurants at the Wharf in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Certification connects businesses, sustainable practices

Green Wheel designation focusing on diverting waste from landfills

Health report prompts concerns

Food bank leaders: Rodent problem being addressed

Port Angeles approves funds for housing project

City also OKs five-year police body-worn camera contract

Greywolf Elementary shelters in place during police activity

A man has been arrested following police activity in the… Continue reading

Turns restricted during roundabout construction

Drivers will not be able to make left turns at… Continue reading

Scheduled bridge closures canceled

Overnight closures of the Hood Canal bridge on state Highway… Continue reading

Sequim schools plan cuts to staff

District aims to reduce force by 28 positions

Timeline set to replace Port Townsend City Council member

Applications open in June, candidate selected in August

Fish passage project begins today

Work crews will begin another fish passage improvement project on… Continue reading

Sen. Kevin Van de Wege.
Van de Wege honored as Legislator of Year

The Washington Farm Bureau has recognized state Sen. Kevin Van… Continue reading

U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, with Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Kilmer recognized by committee as Fiscal Hero

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer has been recognized as Fiscal… Continue reading