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County, officer settle dispute
Hushed deal for $20K, demotion
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Forsyth County News
As part of what officials called a compromise agreement, Forsyth County has agreed to pay $20,000 to a sheriff’s deputy who was demoted last fall.

Without a word of comment, county commissioners quickly voted 5-0 to approve the deal at Thursday night’s meeting.

A copy of the agreement, obtained Friday by the Forsyth County News under an open records request, outlines a settlement with Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Clark.

Neither the reasons for the settlement nor Clark’s demotion are detailed.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard cited a confidentiality clause in the agreement as the reason county officials can not comment on the matter.

The clause states, “the nature and terms of this agreement and any alleged claims ... shall be kept in the highest confidentiality to the extent allowed by the law.”

Sheriff Ted Paxton said Friday that he signed the deal earlier in the week.

Noting that he didn’t want to breach confidentiality, Paxton said only that “there was an offer to settle on certain things and that was done.”

The compromise served to settle any dispute between Clark and his employers, stating “the parties wish to resolve this matter and avoid the disruption and expense of litigation.”

Under the agreement, the sheriff’s office will rescind Clark’s Sept. 24 demotion from lieutenant to deputy first class and all allegations and findings from both parties will be withdrawn.

Within two business days, Clark must then request a voluntary demotion to deputy first class with the sheriff’s office.

In addition, he will receive $20,000, less taxes, eight days after the agreement is executed.

According to the agreement, the sum constitutes the difference between the pay in the different ranks over a period from September 2009 to April 2012.

It was not clear why that period of time was specified.

Clark also agreed to drop his appeal before the county’s civil service board.