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Sheriff candidate leaves dept. at Wag. Co.

Posted: 9:21 PM, Jun 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-02 07:19:10-04
Former TCSO PIO out at Wagoner Sheriff's Office
Former TCSO PIO out at Wagoner Sheriff's Office
Former TCSO PIO out at Wagoner Sheriff's Office

WAGONER - The third-in-command at the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office is no longer employed, but the circumstances of his departure are in question. Former Chief Deputy Shannon Clark stepped down on Wednesday.

"Today is an exciting day!" Proclaimed Clark on his Facebook page for his campaign for Wagoner County Sheriff. "My campaign is generating so much momentum, that I feel it is my obligation to the constituents of Wagoner County to devote my full time and attention to seeking their election for the Office of Sheriff."

Multiple sources within Wagoner County government say Clark left after employees complained to commissioners about Clark's leadership.

"He's no better than [Bob] Colbert," said one sheriff's department employee who lodged a complaint against Clark with county commissioners. The employee asked to remain anonymous for fear of being fired. "I had high hopes for the guy when he got here, I thought he may have gotten a raw deal at Tulsa County but within a week. No"

Former Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert was suspended from office and is awaiting a removal hearing after a grand jury indicted him on three felony counts. Capt. Jeff Gragg was indicted along with Colbert. Interim Sheriff Dan David announced Gragg's termination at the same time he announced Clark's resignation on Wednesday.

County commissioners learned of a federal lawsuit filed by a former Tulsa County deputy shortly after Clark's termination last year. The former Tulsa deputy alleged Clark and other TCSO leaders terminated her after she filed a grievance against a woman with whom the plaintiff alleges Clark had a long-standing affair. The lawsuit says Clark and other also-former TCSO top brass were known as "The Rough Pack" because of their treatment of subordinates they didn't like.

"I was told I needed to back off if I wanted to keep my job that it wasn't going to end well for me," said another longtime WCSO employee who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of termination. "He said I'd find myself on the losing end and that I had no protection because I'm white."

One employee recorded a conversation in which Clark made intimidating comments. The recording found its way to county commissioners. Commissioners James Hanning, Chris Edwards and Tim Kelley met in executive session on Tuesday. Sources tell 2 Works for You Investigators, commissioners visited with interim sheriff David shortly after the session.

Commissioners would not confirm what they discussed in executive session, but one commissioner told us he is not taking the circumstances surrounding Clark's resignation announcement lightly, and that he is personally investigating how it happened. He said commissioners would get to the bottom of it.

Dan David had no comment beyond the brief statement announcing Clark's departure "to devote his full time and attention to seeking the Office of Sheriff of Wagoner County."

"We got rid of the tumor that was Bob Colbert," said the first employee we spoke with. "But we still have the cancer - Shannon Clark."

Colbert hired Clark in January as a deputy and administrative assistant. Within three months, while the grand jury was investigating, Colbert promoted Clark to public information officer and chief deputy - a post that did not previously exist. The grand jury indicted Colbert and recommended his removal the next day.

Clark said he was too busy to comment for this story on Wednesday. He said he may have time to comment on Thursday. His full Facebook post is below.

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