Itemizer-Observer

Polk County — An employee who has worked at the Polk County Courthouse for nearly 29 years filed a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries on Feb. 26.

Heidi Bittick, trial court administrator, alleges unlawful employment practices based on whistleblowing, according to public records.

The respondent is listed as the State of Oregon, Oregon Judicial Department.

“In May of 2019, I reported a theft out of a cash box to the administrator authority, Judge Norm Hill,” the complaint states. “(He) ordered me to stop the investigation into the missing funds.”

On or about July 25 of last year, she asked Darren Hotrium, audit director, for “an audit of the unit,” according to the complaint.

“After my report, Judge Hill began subjecting me to unwanted discipline,” the complaint states.

In November, Bittick was suspended with pay.

“In January 2020, the respondent suspended her without pay pending termination,” according to the complaint. “The respondent intended to discharge me from my employment effective Jan. 21, 2020. I filed an appeal and the finalization of the termination is pending as of the filing of this complaint.”

She said she was “de facto discharged” her from employment.

When contacted for comment, Hill referred the I-O to Oregon Judicial Department. This story will be updated at polkio.com as information becomes available.

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