Former undersheriff suing Clallam County

PORT ANGELES — A former Clallam County undersheriff who abruptly quit the department last November filed a lawsuit Thursday saying he was forced to resign.

Steve Snover quit shortly before the release of an internal misconduct investigation that criticized him

He is now suing the Sheriff’s department for an undisclosed amount of money to compensate for what he describes as the department’s failure to follow personnel procedures.

Damages include, “emotional distress, trauma, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of reputation and other general damages,” the suit reads.

In the complaint, Snover says that last November, as the department braced itself for the public release of three investigative reports detailing misconduct allegations, Snover was told that he had “committed sustained acts of dishonesty” and was told if he didn’t resign he would be fired.

“The plaintiff was pressured into resigning as a result of threats that he would be terminated,” the complaint reads, though it does not identify by name those working on behalf of the department.

It asserts that the department failed to follow “prescribed policies and procedures that provided for specific treatment in specific situations.”

The account contained in the suit — that Snover was given an ultimatum — conflicts with statements made by Sheriff Joe Martin following Snover’s resignation, which he described as a retirement.

At the time, Martin told the Peninsula Daily News that Snover was not forced to quit and that his departure was “purely voluntary.”

Martin is running for election in November against Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Bill Benedict.

“This is an indication there is leftover business from a year ago,” Benedict said.

Martin did not return a call to his office Friday afternoon seeking comment and his cell phone voice mailbox was full.

Reached at his home in Sequim, Snover said he was under advice from his lawyer not to comment.

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