Whistleblowing former Lane County attorney Marc Kardell filed a lawsuit against the county on May 1, also naming County Administrator Liane Richardson and District Attorney Alex Gardner. Kardell says that he was fired in retaliation for questioning their actions. He says in his suit that the county is mismanaged, wastes funds and abuses authority.
After recent revelations that Richardson had lobbied for $40,000 worth of raises for herself and County Counsel Stephen Dingle, Kardell provided written comment to the County Commission on the issue asking that Richardson and those directly beneath her be reviewed.
Kardell was laid off a year ago and was told at the time that it was budget related, but in a name-clearing hearing in January he pointed out that someone else was hired as a county attorney without giving him a chance to return to the job. He also discussed the county’s secret, unfounded investigations, and laid out actions by Richardson that he said were causing “a multitude of problems” within the county.
He writes that the county counsel “was selected through a closed process, devoid of competition at any stage of his tenure with the county.” And he suggests that the spread in salary range between the second-highest-paid person in the office and the proposed salary for county counsel be reviewed. “I would expect that the spread would be well in excess of 50 percent,” he writes, saying that this reflects among other things, the administration “and the continued placement of a small group of people above the organization generally and of the political climate in which they operate.”
Kardell says that he was laid off four days after he asked the County Commission to review the decision to lay off a fellow attorney, Stephen Vorhes. Kardell says there was a “rift” between that attorney and Richardson. He asks that the County Commission contact an outside person to “to review the conduct of your administrator and those left serving directly under her.”
When asked for a response to Kardell’s public comments, the county spokesperson did not respond before press time.