LCSO Deputy Collinsworth retires after allegations, investigation into complaints against him

Retirement and Release Agreement authorizes $25,000 payment to Collinsworth

On March 18, 2022, Lt. Chad Collinsworth of Gleason, a Deputy with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), was placed on paid administrative leave pending the duration of an investigation into multiple allegations made against him. At that time, he was not told who had made the complaints, but those complaints included bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, and threats of retaliation, among others.
Sheriff Ken Schneider and Chief Deputy Nathan Walrath of the LCSO asked Cate Wylie, then Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator/Human Resources Director, to investigate.

Open records request is met with delays, finally yields nearly 400 pages
An open records request from the Foto News, submitted to Lincoln County and the LCSO, ultimately yielded 374 total pages of internal and interoffice email communications, LCSO working personnel file documents, official County personnel files, and LCSO investigative files, in addition to email correspondence with those offices to request and locate the pertinent information.
The initial request was submitted to Wylie on Oct. 13, 2022. After multiple inquiries, files were received a full 14 business days following that request on Nov. 2, 2022. However, none of the investigative reports were included in those files, and Wylie advised those records are not kept as a part of an employee’s official personnel file. In fact, the official personnel file contained no record of why Collinsworth had gone from satisfactory annual employee reviews to a Retirement and Release Agreement dated Oct. 1, 2022, authorizing a $25,000 payment to Collinsworth, a condition that he not seek re-employment with Lincoln County, and a reference within the Agreement to “investigative interviews” having been conducted, all with no official documentation in between.
An open records request for the files pertaining to the investigation referred to in the Retirement and Release Agreement was then submitted to the LCSO on Nov. 3, 2022. Wisconsin State Statutes provides that the employee must be notified prior to the release of a record containing information relating to the employee, which is the result of an investigation into a disciplinary matter involving that employee or a possible employment-related violation by the employee, of a statute, ordinance, rule, regulation, or policy of the employee’s employer. This is to give the employee the right to file a request for an injunction blocking the release of those records with the court, if they wish to challenge the release of the information. Thus, the employee is afforded up to 12 days to provide notice of their objection once they are served.
Despite the open records request being sent to the LCSO on Nov. 3, the LCSO did not serve Collinsworth with notice of the open records request until Nov. 17. He was served on the first attempt, a full 10 days after the open records request was made. It is unclear why there was such a lengthy delay in serving Collinsworth. From the date of service, the timeframe for him to object then had to expire before the records could be released, and another 13 days later, on Nov. 30, 2022, the LCSO sent the requested records. This was a full 19 business days and 27 calendar days following the open records request.
Upon examination of both the County’s official personnel file and the investigative files, it was clear there were still missing pieces of the puzzle. Another request was submitted to the LCSO for a “working personnel file” held at the LCSO and any other records that would help provide a clearer picture of Collinsworth and his employment with the LCSO. Additional records were received from the LCSO on Dec. 8 and Dec. 12.

Collinsworth’s history with the LCSO
Chad Collinsworth was originally hired by the LCSO on Dec. 11, 2007, as a Patrol officer. Prior to that time, he was employed part-time with the Colfax Police Department in Colfax, Wis., and also part-time as a Reserve Deputy with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department in Menomonie, Wis. He graduated from Chippewa Valley Technical College in May 2007 with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice and indicated he had completed the 520-hour recruit academy at WITC.
Effective Sept. 1, 2009, Collinsworth was promoted to Sergeant Investigator with the LCSO. He was promoted to his most recent position in the LCSO as Lieutenant heading up the Detective Division on Feb. 14, 2017, reporting to the Chief Deputy Sheriff. He was also a Handgun and Rifle Instructor for the LCSO.
Collinsworth’s employee evaluations in his County personnel file give no indication of the behaviors alleged in the complaints against him beginning in early 2022. Those complaints, however, allege that the behaviors started long prior to 2022 and that the complainants had not reported those behaviors for fear of retaliation.
For the record, every one of Collinsworth’s formal employee evaluations were either Satisfactory or Very Good from the time he was hired through his most recent evaluation for the year 2020, dated Jan. 7, 2021, which was the last evaluation in his personnel file, except for his annual review for 2017 dated Feb. 2, 2018, which rated him as Very Good/Outstanding. His lowest scores on the most recent evaluation dated Jan. 7, 2021, were in the categories of Interpersonal Skills, Courtesy, Housekeeping, and Attendance and yet each of those scores was a 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5) with the notation “Meets Job Requirements.”
Collinsworth’s employee files reflected years of training, particularly as it relates to investigating drug crimes, and numerous commendations from various sources for his investigative work, particularly relating to drug investigations.

Initial complainant provides long list of charges
Wylie’s investigation of Collinsworth began “in relation to allegations made by colleagues in the department centering on harassment and discriminatory behaviors,” the Scope of Wylie’s investigative report addressed to Schneider and Walrath read. “In particular, I was asked to investigate the allegations and deliver a report to the Sheriff and Chief Deputy that provides a summary of the investigation.”
In the overview of Wylie’s report, she detailed the individuals interviewed, including two original complainants–one male and one female–plus several witnesses and two individuals who were interviewed as witnesses but became subsequent complainants.
The first official complaint against Lt. Collinsworth was made by a male Deputy in the LCSO in January 2022. His lengthy and detailed complaint described numerous incidents including a “joke” that Collinsworth and other officers played on him, telling him that a particular perpetrator (from an incident that had resulted in the death of a young child, which was known to have upset the complainant a great deal) was being released from jail. “This was done to get a rise out of me. At first I did not know this to be a joke and took it as real. … Chad knew I would get upset … Chad admitted to messing with me. I was not happy. I was upset. This child death investigation had taken a large toll on me and my family,” he said. “Chad took opportunity with the administration to intentionally get me upset because they think it is funny.”
Other instances told about Collinsworth “ranting about patrol and patrol being incompetent,” calling numerous different deputies names, directing the complainant deputy to investigate cases with the intent being to show deficiencies in specific other officers’ investigations and handling of cases, directing him to work overtime on his weekends off to get the results Collinsworth wanted, threatening to take away “the schedule” whereby officers could have entire weekends off, Collinsworth being dishonest with the complainant and telling him “the Chief” told him to do specific things that the Chief had not, and making comments (in front of the complainant and multiple other witnesses) such as “I’m not a fan of getting smaller frame guns because you have ovaries” in response to female officers with small hands requesting smaller-frame guns. “This idea of different guns because you’re female is bull*. It’s not because the size of the frame. It’s because they’re female. They cannot shoot for sh* to begin with. I’m not going to worry about leaving my family and five kids behind because you can’t shoot for sh* and are incompetent. …” Collinsworth was quoted as saying.
The complainant recounted another instance when Collinsworth had called a female officer while the complainant was sitting in Collinsworth’s office, put the female officer on speaker phone, and then expressed “his displeasure” with how she handled the case. He later asked the complainant to recall everything from the phone conversation so Collinsworth could write a report about her. “I don’t believe I should be put in this position. … Especially knowing what I know about his extreme displeasure for [her],” the complainant said. “Which goes back in time to an incident in which Chad called me at home while I was off duty … He was yelling on the phone …” Collinsworth referred to the female officer using vulgar names and said she “was too emotionally attached to her cases, how stupid she was, and how she should not be working here,” the complainant said. “My wife was home as I held the phone away from my ear. I brought this to the attention of Sheriff Schneider at the time and to my knowledge nothing was ever done.”
The complainant said Collinsworth “has taken many opportunities to speak poorly of former Detectives … no longer a part of the bureau” as well as the Merrill Police Chief and others. When called out on it, Collinsworth says “he was only joking,” the complainant said, but the complainant maintains that wasn’t the case at the time.
“I am done being subjected to Chad’s harassing, intimidating, and bullying ways,” the complainant said. He said the incidents he detailed were “to show the pattern that has gone unaddressed and what I have been subjected to over time. Chad’s words and demeanor are toxic and harmful to me, this agency, and my co-workers. I am concerned for my job because of retaliation and how Chad will be allowed to minimize his actions and decisions of himself and deflect wrong doing onto myself and others. I am concerned if I don’t agree with him in his philosophy’s (sic) and politics as he head hunts each person that I will be the target. Chad’s constant bombardment of his overreaching and oppressing ways cause me constant stress and grief as I try to go about the normal course of my duties and needs to stop. There are others within this agency that have their own concerns and incidents with Chad that are too fearful to speak for fear of retaliation.”
“I have brought things in times past to the attention of Sheriff Schneider and Chief Walrath about Chad and his handling of situations or interactions with myself and/or others,” the Deputy complainant wrote in his complaint. “Only for them to call me in front of Chad and for me to give an account in Chad’s presence or not address the matters at all. If there have been issues addressed, there has been no dialog (sic) with me. I am asking for a more confidential and professional handling of this information to protect my job and reputation that will limit my exposure to Chad’s retaliation.”
“It is my intent to have these matters addressed, to stop the hostile/bullying work environment, the oppressing language, degrading thought process, and treatment of women in this agency that I and my co-workers are being subjected to. Chad’s actions are belittling, ridiculing, derogatory, undermining, harsh, and persistent criticisms …”
The complainant did meet with Schneider and Walrath to review the allegations in late January, and they recorded that meeting, a transcript of which was included in the investigation documentation.

And then there were two
On Feb. 18, 2022, a female Deputy told her supervisor, Lt. Tyler Iverson, that she wanted to file a formal complaint against Collinsworth. A meeting was set up with Iverson, Chief Deputy Walrath, and Sheriff Schneider “to lodge a complaint regarding Lt. Chad Collinsworth” on Feb. 23, 2022. In the meeting, the female complainant detailed numerous complaints about Lt. Collinsworth and advised she had contacted the Wisconsin Professional Police Association Union about the matter, as well.
On March 4, 2022, the female Deputy filed an email complaint addressed to Chief Deputy Sheriff Nathan Walrath and Lt. Tyler Iverson, citing the many incidents she had personally witnessed or been made aware of, about the behavior of Collinsworth towards herself and other employees of the LCSO. Her complaint said Collinsworth consistently and exclusively stood directly behind her during shooting range and he did not do this to other officers, which made her nervous, and at one point came up to her, “puffed up his chest and asked, ‘Do I intimidate you?’” While she told him no at the time, her complaint said, “I felt that he was trying to intimidate me,” she said in the written complaint. “In that moment I felt uncomfortable. When I was in the academy I enjoyed range. I no longer enjoy it.”
She further detailed an incident two to three years prior to that when another Deputy had contacted her to tell her that Collinsworth had called her vile names and yelled about her so loud on the phone that that Deputy’s wife could hear Collinsworth’s words.
Another portion of the complaint recalled an incident on April 2, 2021, when Collinsworth had commented that the only reason another female Deputy was hired “was because she had a ‘pretty face.’”
Still another incident the complaint recounted said that the complainant had been involved in an officer-involved shooting incident with another Deputy and she was later told that Collinsworth had told another Deputy “something to the effect of, ‘I hope the shooting messes up (complainant) enough that she won’t come back to work again.’ This comment about my mental health after the officer-involved shooting is horrendous.”
The complaint explained Collinsworth had made comments about female Deputies with smaller hands getting smaller guns and that “He made made a comment similar to ‘just because you have ovaries doesn’t mean you should have to get a special gun.’”
These were a few of the incidents outlined in this female complainant’s single complaint.
The complaint said the complainant and others in the Department feared Collinsworth would retaliate and trying to get them fired for filing a complaint against him and said the complainant’s previous and current Lieutenants had had to protect her from Collinsworth’s “attacks.”
“Lt. Collinsworth is in a supervisory position and should not be behaving in this way. His conduct makes for a hostile work environment for not only me but for other employees,” the complaint read. “It is not right for a supervisor to threaten or demean other employees in front of other employees. I am thankful that his behavior is being brought to your attention as it is unacceptable and an embarrassment to our Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Collinsworth needs to be held accountable for his actions.”
The email indicated that on Feb. 18, 2022, the complainant had spoken with Lt. Iverson and advised him she would be filing the complaint.
Despite assurances, however, complainants remained nervous about Collinsworth retaliating against them.
In a March 14, 2022, email, the initial female complainant wrote: “I am asking that I be made aware when Lt. Collinsworth is told about my complaint for safety purposes.”

Complainants begin to multiply
Wylie interviewed witnesses the complainants had indicated were present at the time some of the incidents occurred. Many of these same witnesses and complainants had already been interviewed by Sheriff Schneider and Walrath, as well. These interviews unearthed more, new allegations and incidents, in addition to confirming the initial accounts of Collinsworth’s inappropriate behaviors, and several of the witnesses became new complainants.
There are far too many incidents and allegations listed in the complaints to detail here. But it was no longer just two co-workers complaining. The number of complainants had multiplied.
In a March 21, 2022, email, Wylie indicated “Lt. Collinsworth has been directed to NOT reach out to co-workers about this investigation or work related matters.” However, an email from an employee at the LCSO advised Collinsworth had reached out to him/her on March 18 inquiring about a co-worker going to the hospital. “I am aware Chad has had contact since being placed on leave with others in the agency,” the LCSO employee said. “Chad is a cunning individual and I am willing to believe his contacts with us is an attempt to illicit information. I am not comfortable communicating with him …”

Collinsworth speaks
Wylie’s investigation also included interviews with Collinsworth in the presence of his union representative, Kevin Sorenson, on April 1, 2022, and again on May 4, 2022. During the first interview, Wylie listed the allegations against Collinsworth in general terms so as not to identify the name(s) of the complainant(s). The first interview focused on broad questions about an average day, general workflow, and the relationships with those with whom Collinsworth worked most closely. Asked whether he has a bias against women in law enforcement, “He maintained he does not and the accusation is absurd,” Wylie’s report of that interview said.
Wylie inquired about Collinsworth’s attention to detail and how he feels about those who are not as detailed. “He replied he only focuses on the work product and never the person. If the product is not up to standards, he addresses the work. Lt. Collinsworth was adamant that he never goes after the person,” she wrote in her file.
“I inquired if he could recall a time when he was joking around or pranking anyone that caused a problem or distress. He could not recall a time when he joked or pranked someone. He said he usually doesn’t participate in those things.”
“I inquired if he had ever participated in any intimidating behaviors at work (shouting, yelling). He said he did not know.”
“Collinsworth made several statements that the Sheriff and Chief Deputy did not have good management skills, and inferred on several occasions I was or should be looking into the failure of their management,” Wylie wrote.
“Collinsworth concluded by saying he did not intend to hurt anyone or discriminate against anyone, and he is upset that people are scared of him. He also said he was upset that this investigation is the first he is hearing of any issues.”
Two witnesses spoke in support of Collinsworth. One was professional and upfront and indicated he is friends with Collinsworth outside of work and knows the family. When asked about work style, he said “Collinsworth will point out discrepancies in work and is a stickler for detail.” He said he “has never seen any bias Collinsworth might have against women in law enforcement. Additionally, [he] has never had a complaint from any of the female correctional officers about Collinsworth,” Wylie’s report said.
That witness described Collinsworth as “passionate about his work, a good investigator, and works hard at keeping the agency in a good light.”
The second witness interview notes were brief Wylie’s notes said the witness, “shared some interactions he has had with Collinsworth. He indicated Collinsworth has a bias against ‘incompetence in the job’ … is not shy about vocalizing his frustrations. He noted that Collinsworth can be abrasive but has not witnessed firsthand any ‘red flags.’”
Collinsworth was also interviewed by Sheriff Schneider, Walrath, and Deputy Iverson, with Collinsworth’s representative Sorenson also present. Collinsworth denied most of the allegations presented to him, with responses including “I never said that … I don’t know … I don’t remember that … I don’t remember saying anything like that …” and “That is 100% untrue.” The few things he did admit to, such as words he used in reference to the Merrill Police Department (MPD), Collinsworth had a rebuttal for. For instance, regarding the things he said about MPD, he said, “It was being facetious. It was joking around.”
During this interview, Sheriff Schneider also asked Collinsworth if he was aware that there were 13 current issued policies that he had not acknowledged in the Lexipol program. “I’m behind on it,” Collinsworth said. The policies he had not yet acknowledged in the program included the Lincoln County civil service rules and regulations primarily focused on discriminatory harassment and conduct and the Lincoln County Personnel Policies specifically regarding harassment, sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination.
As a result of that meeting, Sheriff Ken Schneider completed a Supervisor’s Discipline statement detailing many of the allegations against Collinsworth based on the complaints and interviews and the fact that Collinsworth was behind on acknowledging the personnel policies; however, while it lists the alleged violations, the document is undated, and while it checks “yes” where asked about discipline imposed and/or recommended, the form does not list any discipline actually imposed on the form where it has space to “Describe the discipline imposed or recommended,” and the form is not dated or signed. It simply lists the different incidents, saying “if” each incident is true, which Personnel policies Collinsworth violated.

Conclusion, and Lincoln County policy is clear
Wylie notified Walrath and Sheriff Schneider that she had concluded her investigation and made a report of her findings on April 18, 2022. Her report was dated April 11, 2022. However, an August 30, 2022, an email from Wylie to the March 4 female complainant indicated the matter related to Lt. Collinsworth was “still an active investigation.”
Five and a half months after the date on Wylie’s report of her findings, Collinsworth and Lincoln County signed a Retirement and Release Agreement that granted Collinsworth a $25,000 severance payment from Lincoln County, among other benefits.
The Conclusion section of Wylie’s April 11, 2022, investigative report said, “Accusations against Collinsworth include: Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Bullying, Threats of Retaliation.” It further read as follows:
“Lincoln County has clear policy on these accusations that include zero tolerance which includes immediate termination if any employee is found guilty of these behaviors. Lincoln County is an equal opportunity employer and provides employment without regards to race, color, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, disability, gender identity, results of genetic testing, or service in the military.”
“Lincoln County expressly prohibits any form of unlawful employee harassment or discrimination based on any of the characteristics mentioned above. Improper interference with the ability of other employees to perform their expected job duties is absolutely not tolerated.”

Her report then details the policies as follows:
Lincoln County maintains a safe workplace environment that is free from discrimination, harassment (sexual and otherwise), bullying, and retaliation. Every employee has a personal responsibility to help maintain a safe and healthy workplace environment. Workplace harassment, discrimination, and bullying, whether engaged in by employees, supervisors, elected officials, or members of the public will not be tolerated.
Lincoln County has a Zero Tolerance policy for this behavior.
Offenders will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge. Similarly, acts of retaliation taken against employees, supervisors, or elected officials for reporting workplace safety issues, harassment, or discrimination will not be tolerated, and offenders will be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including discharge.
Bullying: Malicious repeated behavior that a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, degrading, humiliating, or threatening. Bullying may be directed towards one employee or a group of employees or customers. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
• Screaming at someone
• Condescending or belittling comments
• Name calling or ridiculing
• Derogatory remarks or insults
• Undermining or impeding others’ work
• Unwarranted harsh and persistent criticism of work
Harassment and Discrimination: Unlawful harassment or discrimination is conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; has the purpose or effect of substantially and unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance; or otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunities because of the individual’s membership in a protected class.
Unlawful harassment and/or discrimination includes, but is not limited to, epithets; slurs; jokes; pranks; innuendo; comments; written or graphic material; stereotyping; or other threatening, hostile, or intimidating acts based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, disability, veteran status, or other characteristic protected by state or federal law.
Sexual Harassment:
While all forms of harassment are prohibited, special attention should be paid to sexual harassment. “Sexual harassment” is generally defined under both state and federal law as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where:
• Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of any individual’s employment or as a basis for employment decisions; or
• Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Other sexually oriented conduct, whether intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a work environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to workers may also constitute sexual harassment.
The County will not allow any form of retaliation against individuals who raise issues of equal employment opportunity. Retaliation means adverse conduct taken because an individual reported an actual or perceived violation of this policy, opposed practices prohibited by this policy, or participated in the reporting and investigation process described below. “Adverse conduct” includes but is not limited to:
(1) shunning and avoiding an individual who reports harassment, discrimination, or retaliation;
(2) express or implied threats or intimidation intended to prevent an individual from reporting harassment, discrimination, or retaliation; or
(3) denying employment benefits because an applicant or employee reported harassment, discrimination, or retaliation or participated in the reporting and investigation process.

The end result
Six and one-half months after he was placed on paid administrative leave, and five and one-half months after Wylie’s investigation and report of that investigation were complete and submitted to Schneider and Walrath, Collinsworth and representatives on behalf of Lincoln County signed a Release and Retirement Agreement whereby Collinsworth agreed to retire from his position as a Deputy with Lincoln County effective Oct. 1, 2022; his personnel file would reflect that he “retired;” and that he would be classified as “retired” in the Acadis Portal of the Wisconsin Department of Justice; and Collinsworth agreed not to see re-employment with Lincoln County “for employment of any type whatsoever with the County.”
Collinsworth also received a $25,000 payment, and Lincoln County agreed to treat Collinsworth’s separation from employment with the LCSO as a “retirement in good standing;” award him his duty handgun; allow him to keep his badge, provided it is mounted or encased to prevent future use; provide him with a retired deputy ID card; provide, at Collinsworth’s expense, certification training to enable him to get and keep his retiree concealed carry permit; and agree not to seek to recover any paid administrative leave or other benefits paid to Collinsworth from the dates he was placed on administrative leave–March 18, 2022–through Oct. 1, 2022.
The Release and Retirement Agreement also included a “Non-Admission” paragraph indicating the Agreement “is made in full, final, and complete compromise and settlement of any disputed claims” between Lincoln County and Collinsworth “inclusive of those matters discussed in the investigative interviews conducted.”
“Neither the negotiation, undertaking, agreement to provide, nor actual provision of consideration under this Agreement shall in any way be construed as an acknowledgment or admission by any of the parties of any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever under federal, state, or local law,” it said.
The Release and Retirement Agreement further provides for a “Neutral Letter of Reference,” stating that “Any requests for references from potential employers of Employee will be referred to the Lincoln County Human Resources Department, who will only give prospective non-law enforcement employers the following information: ‘Chad Collinsworth was hired by Lincoln County on Dec. 11, 2007, and at the time of his retirement, was a Lieutenant earning $38.71 per hour.’ If the County receives a request from a prospective law enforcement employer, County shall respond truthfully and may disclose the nature of the events leading up to Employee’s separation/retirement. The County will further comply with all of the requirements and mandates effective under 2021 Wis. Act 82.”
Should Lincoln County receive an inquiry from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) relative to Unemployment Compensation, they will respond that Collinsworth retired from his employment with Lincoln County.
The Release and Retirement Agreement provides for a nearly full and complete release of all parties except for the release of any claims that cannot be waived by statute, Collinsworth’s potential right to COBRA health care coverage, his right to any employee welfare benefit plan or employee pension plan for which he may be eligible, claims brought to enforce the terms of the Agreement, and the right to file a future charge or complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
On Oct. 10, 2022, an email from Chief Deputy Sheriff Tyler Iverson notified members of the LCSO, Lincoln County Department Heads, and the Lincoln County IT Department that “Effective Oct. 1, 2022, Chad Collinsworth is no longer employed with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.”
An Oct. 10, 2022, email from Collinsworth to Schneider said, “it was my understanding I was retiring in good standing–not being treated like I was fired.”

What isn’t clear
What isn’t clear as a result of Wylie’s investigation and report is whether Collinsworth was deemed guilty of the allegations leveled against him in the complaints of colleagues–other Deputies–at the LCSO. Wylie doesn’t question the credibility of the complainants or witnesses, or witnesses turned complainants, in her report and findings. But she does cite Lincoln County’s zero tolerance policy for the behaviors Collinsworth is alleged to have exhibited, the words he is alleged to have said, and the actions he is alleged to have taken. “Lincoln County has clear policy on these accusations that include zero tolerance which includes immediate termination if any employee is found guilty of these behaviors.”
Yet Collinsworth remained on the payroll, an employee of Lincoln County, on paid administrative leave, for five and a half months following the writing of Wylie’s report. At $38.71 per hour, for an average of 40 hours per week, times 4.33 averages weeks in a month, times 5.5 months, that’s $36,875.15 Lincoln County paid Collinsworth while he was on leave during that timeframe, all of which Lincoln County agreed not to try to recover as part of the Retirement and Release Agreement the parties signed.
So what transpired during that five and one-half months’ time?
If Collinsworth chose to retire, why did Lincoln County pay him $25,000 to do so?
If Collinsworth was deemed guilty of the allegations, why wasn’t he disciplined or terminated in accordance with Lincoln County policy? And why did Lincoln County agree not to try to recover the more than $36,000 he was paid while on paid administrative leave?
And if he was found not guilty of the allegations, why didn’t he return to work at the LCSO?
The one thing that appears certain … the signed Release and Retirement Agreement pretty much ensures the public will never get answers to those questions.

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