YAKIMA— A former Yakima County sheriff’s deputy entered negotiations with county officials over a $10 million wrongful termination claim.
Eric Salverda worked in the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office security department for 20 years before filing a claim against the county in January, The Yakima Herald reported Wednesday.
The claim is the first step toward a lawsuit against the county.
Salverda was part of the sheriff’s security department, which consists of officers with special commissions to provide security and make arrests on county property including the county courthouse, juvenile justice center and district court locations.
Sheriff Bob Udell fired Salverda for using county equipment for private employment, doing private work on county time, insubordination and dishonesty, records said.
Salverda was fired in November 2019 for serving legal papers on behalf of a private company while simultaneously working for the county and lying to superiors about his actions, records said.
An investigation found Salverda served legal papers for the company 33 times while on duty despite saying the occasion when he was observed was the only case. Salverda served papers for the company twice more after being confronted, records said.
Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Salverda was fired because of medical issues and his complaints about safety conditions on the job, attorney Fabian Valencia said. “He was made to serve with an expired (bulletproof) vest,” Valencia said.
Salverda was only granted one of several medical leave requests, and the county did not accommodate his medical issues, Valencia said.