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BANDON — Bandon’s former wastewater treatment plant supervisor William Eric Nielson pleaded guilty Dec. 5 to first-degree official misconduct in the first degree, a Class A misdemeanor.

Nielson, 60, was initially charged with first-degree theft, second-degree theft and two counts of official misconduct after being arrested Sept. 23 following an investigation.

Nielson's arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation conducted by the Bandon Police Department and the Oregon State Police into alleged thefts from the City of Bandon by Nielson during his employment as wastewater treatment plant supervisor for the city. 

According to the indictment documents, Nielson, sometime between about July 23 and Sept. 23, 2019, took a riding lawnmower and grass catcher with a value of $1,000 or more, which was the property of the City of Bandon. In addition, sometime between May 4, 2018 and Sept. 23, 2019, Nielson took a grass catcher for a riding lawnmower, with a value of $100. Sometime between July 23 and Sept. 23, 2019, and on about May 4, 2018, Nielson, "Being a public servant, did unlawfully and knowingly perform an act constituting an unauthorized exercise in official duties, with the intent to obtain a benefit to himself."

Nielson pleaded guilty to one of the two counts of official misconduct, and the rest of the charges were dismissed, according to court documents. By pleading guilty, he waived his right to a trial by jury. 

His sentencing included 10 days in the Coos County Jail, 12 months of probation and a $2,500 fine. The maximum sentence for first-degree official misconduct is one year in prison and a fine of up to $6,250. Nielson has no previous convictions. 

Nielson’s conditional release agreement also stipulates that he will have no contact with City of Bandon properties or City of Bandon employees.

Nielson worked for the city of Bandon’s wastewater treatment plant facility for 22 years. He was put on paid administrative leave during the investigation, but is no longer employed by the city. 

Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.

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