- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - Snohomish County has agreed to pay a corrections officer $600,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed the Sheriff’s Office mishandled his public records request.

Sheriff Ty Trenary said on Wednesday that the case shed light on weaknesses in the way they process these requests and has led to “significant changes in staffing and processing of our Public Disclosure Unit.”

Deputy Charles Carrell filed a request under the state’s Public Records Act in 2010 for emails written to and from another Sheriff’s Office employee, Vince Cavaleri, from 2005 to the present. Carrell wanted to find out if he was being retaliated against based on his position with the Snohomish County Corrections Officers Guild.

Carrell served on the guild from 2005 to 2008 and Cavaleri became vice president from 2008 until 2010.

Carrell claimed in the lawsuit that he and Cavaleri had conflicts. During that period, Cavaleri had close ties with then-Sheriff John Lovick, the complaint said.

“Mr. Carrell had reason to suspect that the Sheriff’s Office was no longer considering him for favored job assignments and other opportunities, because of conflicts with Mr. Cavaleri or actions Mr. Carrell took as Guild president,” the complaint said.

Carrell continually sent emails to the records department, but never received the information he sought, the complaint said.

In March, he filed a complaint in King County Superior Court saying the county was violating the Washington Public Records Act.

The county released a statement Wednesday saying it has settled the case.

“It was determined that the request was never properly processed or fulfilled,” said Sheri Ireton, spokeswoman for the county.

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Follow Martha Bellisle at https://twitter.com/marthabellisle

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