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News / Clark County News

County OKs $146K separation deal with Blanchette

She had been head of Children’s Justice Center

By Jake Thomas, Columbian political reporter
Published: October 18, 2016, 9:36pm
3 Photos
Mary Blanchette
Former executive director of Children&#039;s Justice Center
Mary Blanchette is photographed in her office in 2013, when she was executive director of the Children&#039;s Justice Center. She left that position last month after being placed on paid administrative leave by Clark County in June. (Columbian files)
Mary Blanchette Former executive director of Children's Justice Center Mary Blanchette is photographed in her office in 2013, when she was executive director of the Children's Justice Center. She left that position last month after being placed on paid administrative leave by Clark County in June. (Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Clark County has quietly approved a six-figure separation agreement with Mary Blanchette, who served as executive director of the Children’s Justice Center, which provides support for children subjected to abuse.

The agreement doesn’t state the reason why Blanchette and the county parted ways. However, it does include a $146,587 payment to Blanchette and a commitment from the county that it won’t oppose any efforts by her to seek unemployment benefits.

Marc Boldt, Clark County council chair, said that the settlement was approved by the council last month as an agenda item that didn’t mention Blanchette by name.

“It’s a weird thing,” said Boldt. “I can tell you we voted on it, but I can’t tell you anything about it.”

The agreement was signed and dated on Sept. 26 by Blanchette and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Horne. Horne did not respond to a request for comment. The agreement states that Blanchette was placed on paid administrative leave from June 24 through Sept. 30 of this year. According to county Human Resources Director Ron Zito, Blanchette was collecting an annual salary of $105,648.

Under the agreement, Blanchette was not allowed on county property or to communicate with employees regarding county business without permission of Zito while on leave. Both the county and Blanchette, according to the agreement, would cooperate in retrieving her personal items left at the workplace.

As a condition of the agreement, Blanchette agreed to not sue and release the county from any causes of “action, suits, damages, claims, liabilities and demands whatsoever.” Blanchette also agreed to not make any requests for public records from the county and will never seek future employment with the county.

Under the agreement, representatives of the county, if asked, would state that Blanchette resigned. It also bars the county and Blanchette from disclosing any information about the agreement.

Blanchette’s attorney, Thomas Boothe, did not respond to a request for comment.

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Columbian political reporter