A veteran deputy prosecutor has filed a whistleblower complaint against Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A veteran deputy prosecutor has filed a whistleblower complaint against Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

The complaint filed Tuesday with the county’s human resources department and the state auditor says Lindquist’s office operates on “fear and bullying” and that the prosecutor uses intimidation to run the office, The Tacoma News-Tribune reported (http://is.gd/LBjVRQ ).

The complaint filed by Steven Merrival cites multiple allegations of governmental misconduct and a hostile workplace and alleges electioneering on public time.

It also contends he hires and promotes staff members based on patronage, loyalty and youth rather than merit and experience.

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When asked for a comment Wednesday, Lindquist said, “I have high expectations for professionalism and public service, especially in leadership positions, and not everybody is happy about that.

“I’m confident the investigation will exonerate all of us who have been unfairly targeted.”

Merrival sent the complaint to a number of county officials. County Councilman Derek Young said six of seven County Council members received the complaint via email.

Young said he’d read the first few pages of the document, but had not finished it. He noted that the council has no formal role in responding to such complaints, and the authority rests with the county’s human resources department.

“Obviously it’s important to take these things seriously and go through the process,” he said.

The 15-page complaint and 56 pages of attachments list 90 people who Merrival says have knowledge of the alleged circumstances. Those people include other deputy prosecutors and local defense attorneys.

Reached Wednesday, Merrival said he didn’t file the complaint for self-serving reasons.

“I’m not a disgruntled employee, he said. “I’m a person who’s committed to justice here.”

The 62-year-old said he has served as deputy prosecuting attorney for 33 years.

“I started when Lindquist was still in school. I remember when prosecutorial misconduct was the exception and happened somewhere else,” Merrival said. “I’m doing this because I hope that one day the prosecutor’s office can re-establish trust, serve the people and do justice.”


Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com