Voters protest Clark County hire

5-7-13-Clark County hire protest
Protestors gather outside a May 7, 2013, Clark County Commissioners meeting after the hiring of former state sentor Don Benton for county environmental services director. (KOIN 6 News, Matt Rashleigh)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Protestors lined up in advance outside a Clark County Commissioners’ meeting planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

At the meeting commissioners are expected to hear from hundreds of people who have signed up to talk about claims of corruption or cronyism within county government. The public comment period is expected to start at 9:50 p.m.

Tuesday’s protests stem from the hiring of former state senator Don Benton as the county’s new director of environmental services, and the firing of his predecessor. In a whistle-blower memorandum, predecessor Kevin Gray said he had been targeted and experienced retaliation after reporting a supervisor was using county money for his private business.

Benton started in the county post Monday. Benton is a personal friend of one of the commissioners — and was given the job within days of applying. Now others have cried foul, saying the normal hiring process wasn’t followed.

“They just don’t like my politics,” Benton previously told KOIN 6 News. “I happen to be a Republican. If I was not a state senator, and people didn’t know what my political party was, they probably wouldn’t be bothered by it at all.”

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