Ore. prison watchdog fired after threatening lawsuit

Leonard Williamson was fired after both threatening to sue the DOC and after his lawyer filed a complaint that asserted director Colette Peters was terminating and filling positions with personal acquaintances outside of hiring policies


By C1 Staff

SALEM — The chief internal watchdog for the Oregon Department of Corrections has been fired, following a threat to sue for $3 million for “injuring” his personal reputation.

Leonard Williamson was fired Friday, after both threatening to sue the DOC and after his lawyer filed a complaint that asserted director Colette Peters was terminating and filling positions with personal acquaintances outside of hiring policies, according to Oregon Live.

Peters offered Williamson a special, three-month assignment if he withdrew his threat to sue and if he would resign by Jan. 22 without seeking further employment by the DOC.

Williamson was promised a neutral employment reference and a settlement agreement.

Williamson asked for more time to weigh the decision, and Peters gave him until last Friday to decide. Peters said that he was required to attend a meeting on Friday to discuss his removal, but Williamson is said to have skipped the meeting.

Williamson’s dismissal comes after Peters also fired Rob Killgore, head of Oregon Corrections Enterprises, after Killgore pointed out questionable spending and hiring practices at the agency. Killgore later sued, saying he was targeted as a whistleblower. The DOC paid him $450,000 to settle.

Ron Bersin, the executive director of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, said  that Williamson’s allegations toward Peters’ hiring practices did not include enough details to be considered a complaint that would fall within the board’s jurisdiction.

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