SOUTH BEND — Pacific County Sheriff Robin Souvenir and the Pacific County Commissioners were briefed on Oct. 24 about a still ongoing investigation related to Chief Criminal Deputy Matt Padgett.
Attorney Michael T. Kitson of Lane Powell PC in Seattle, representing Washington Counties Risk Pool insurance, began an inquiry at the end of September after coworkers raised concerns about Padgett’s professional interactions at work. The exact nature of these concerns hasn’t been publicly disclosed.
Padgett is on administrative leave and will continue receiving pay and benefits while the investigation is underway. The decision to place Padgett on leave was made on advice from the Pacific County risk manager as well as Undersheriff Ron Davis and the county prosecutor’s office. Davis is overseeing the matter to ensure complete transparency for all involved. Padgett is Souvenir’s brother-in-law.
The investigation took just over three weeks and involved over a dozen interviews with Padgett and other staff. Kitson’s findings were turned over to commissioners and the sheriff but remain sealed at this time and are not available to the media or public. Last week’s private meeting did not resolve the matter and it’s unclear why the investigation is not complete. It was expected Kitson’s report would provide information from the investigation along with his recommendations regarding how the county should handle the situation.
“Yes, he remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation once it is completed,” Kathy Spoor, county administrator and risk manager, said Monday. The risk pool is still involved in the investigation, and will remain so until there is a resolution.
“I cannot comment on the matter at this time,” Commissioner Lisa Olsen said last week. “We have been told this investigation is ongoing and I cannot offer comment at this time.”
Souvenir promoted Padgett to chief criminal deputy in May, raising Padgett’s monthly pay to $6,099 from $5,315, according to the promotion request Souvenir filed with Pacific County Commissioners on April 23.
Washington Counties Risk Pool provides counties with joint self-insurance programs, purchasing of insurance and contracting for or hiring of personnel to provide risk management, claims handling and administrative services. One of its goals is to help counties avoid and minimize expensive lawsuits brought by employees, citizens and others.