High-ranking Larch Corrections Center worker focus of probe

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

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The Washington State Department of Corrections asked Washington State Patrol to investigate a union claim against a high-ranking employee at Larch Corrections Center.

Teamsters Local 117, a union representing workers at Larch Corrections Center, last month filed a grievance over what it says is threatening behavior toward bargaining unit members by Dale Caldwell, Larch Corrections Program Manager.

Members independently took a vote of no confidence over hostility in the workplace, said Paul Zilly, union spokesman.

The accusations relate to Caldwell’s treatment of employees.

Selena Davis, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections said the organization received the no-confidence petition in early March. Davis said it is typical for the department to ask for a third party, in this case WSP, to investigate these types of claims.

The complaints are just allegations at this point, Davis said. DOC will wait for the results of the investigation to determine what, if any, disciplinary action needs to take place.

Caldwell declined to comment, Davis said.