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County commissioners reaffirm hearings examiner hire

February 5th, 2014 - 5:37am

(Port Angeles) – By a vote of two to one, Clallam County Commissioners yesterday appointed Mark Nichols as county Hearings Examiner.

It re-affirmed their acrimonious decision at Monday's work session. Both days were marked by vigorous objections from Commissioner Mike Doherty. Doherty called the appointment of the former chief deputy prosecutor as going against the county charter's “over arching” values to have open applications from all positions.

Doherty claimed other, more-qualified candidates, didn't get a chance to apply for the job.

Commissioners Mike Chapman and Jim McEntire said their action was legal and verified by at least three attorneys in the prosecutors office. After two days of objections from Doherty, McEntire yesterday acknowledged Doherty had “made his political points”.

Doherty denied that politics had anything to do with his objections. McEntire is a Republican, while Chapman is a former Republican who is now and Independent. During meetings this week Doherty claimed McEntire and Chapman “knew one guy and aimed a job at a friend”.

Nichols resigned his prosecutor's job after the Doherty and McEntire passed him over to be the interim prosecutor. Nichols resigned immediately after the new prosecutor was sworn in January 27th. He was appointed to the hearings examiner a few hour later. County officials say, since there was no lapse in service for Nichols, the county saved tens of thousand of dollars that would've had to been paid in accrued vacation and leave.

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