From DJ Wilson: Entire statement plus links to background on Council censure vote

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In the interest of full transparency (outside of executive session documents, anyway!) we are reposting information that Edmonds City Councilmember DJ Wilson just published on his blog site regarding the Council’s action to censure him. Included are links to a voice mail that Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper left asking for Wilson’s help, as well as a detailed memo that Wilson sent Oct. 2 to Mark Bucklin, attorney for the Washington Cities Insurance Authority, the liability insurance pool the city belongs to.

Last night, an irresponsible Council took an amazingly irresponsible action.

By introducing a motion of censure, at 11:00 pm, and without having put the item on the agenda for public notice, they put bad politics over good government.  With the election one week away, the motion came from a co-chair of my opponent’s campaign. It was made up of facts that were inaccurate or facts that were irrelevant.

But the facts here did not matter.  This action was about politics alone.

I have done nothing wrong.

I acted at the repeated request of the mayor, and with the direct and clear authorization of the city attorney.

The very first thing I did when I heard about a motion of censure was to request a public hearing from Council President Strom Peterson.  I wanted all of Edmonds to see what was happening in executive session.  I was denied.

I requested the support of legal counsel.  I was denied.

Through my attorney, paid for by my personal funds, I requested a public hearing again yesterday.  Again, I was denied.  Council President Peterson has at his discretion the ability to schedule a hearing, but he chose not to.  The law is clear on this matter (42.30.110(1)(f)) – I have the right to a public hearing.  For political reasons, that right was denied.

I have made every effort to inform the Council of my actions.  They responded with “no thank you.”  In fact, in executive session, they asked me to leave the room rather than present the facts.  When I asked Council President Peterson if he would like to read my full testimony regarding Kim Cole’s separation, he said “I don’t need to do that.”

City government is not a social club.  By denying me my right to a public hearing, adopting a resolution they know to be factually inaccurate, and by holding illegal executive sessions on the matter, this Council and its members commit at least 4 crimes for misconduct of public officers.

In the interest of the public and of full disclosure, and as a public officer of the City of Edmonds, I have no choice but to forward this matter to the prosecutor for investigation.

This is a distraction from the important work we have before us in Edmonds – like solving our budget crisis, fully funding public safety, and keeping our streets safe.  The list goes on and on.  We have important work to do that can have a real, positive influence in the lives of our community.  Instead, this results only in embarrassment.

We deserve better than the behavior and actions of this Council.

37 COMMENTS

  1. D.J. thanks for presenting the facts to the public it would seem to me the as I like to call them the council attorney may have given either you or the council bad advice. In either case you were up front in advising everyone you were not acting in your council capacity but as a freind to both Cole and the Mayor. You and the Mayor acted in good faith . I would urge you to take this to its full conslusion and vindicate your self . Good luck and there are many citizens who dont have an axe to grind who are supportive of you

  2. DJ,

    I know you are angry and upset, but the fact is that I have no manager, no chair, and no co-chair of my campaign. Any implication that someone was acting on my behalf is just plain silly. I have run, and continue to run, a clean campaign. And, up to this point, I was satisfied that you had been doing so as well.

  3. DJ:

    I am very sorry that you have to deal with this. This is what happens when you really do care about others.

    Ms. Bloom:

    I didn’t read anywhere that Mr. Wilson indicated that someone was acting on your behalf. What I read was that he believes this is politically motivated. I believe it is too. There is no reason for you to be defensive unless, in fact, someone was acting on your behalf.

    Ron,
    You are right on. Obviously, Ms. Humann and her crew have way too much time on their hands. I would also vehemently object to her coming back. I was never convinced that she was as innocent as she claimed to be.

  4. Priya, Joan was clearly reacting to this statement from DJ:

    … the motion came from a co-chair of my opponent’s campaign.

    I think her statement was an appropriate response. She wasn’t defensive – she was politely correcting a factual error What has happened to DJ is unfair and wrong, but DJ was wrong to try to drag Joan into it.

  5. I think that would have made DJ’s statement correct and would have made Joan’s response unnecessary. But it’s the second time he’s made unfounded and wrong accusations about her campaign, so I would have expected him to learn the lesson the first time.

  6. Thanks Joe, It seems that if people are more accurated in their statements then a lot less time would be spend just trying to clear up the facts. Making more of our decision based on facts would be helpful.

  7. So…I suppose this is similar to Ms. Bloom saying she is cater to political parties or does not have a pet project. But, I digress. This is about DJ, not Ms. Bloom. I apologize to Ms. Bloom. However, when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck……

  8. Yes, Priya, this is similar to that. Because Ms. Bloom never said those things. Other people did.

    If that’s your idea of an apology, I’d like to hear where you draw the line between apology and insult. You once condemned others for gossip and innuendo. It appears your views on that have changed.

    I should add that some people may rightly call me a major supporter of hers. I have defended her and made many positive comments about her. I have stated my intent to vote for her. But I am not a part of her campaign and she is not responsible for anything I say or do.

  9. What I was trying to say was I do not believe that Ms. Bloom asked anyone to act on her behalf here, That was my apology.

    However, that does not mean that Mr. Berheim was not politically motivated by his support of her. He and his wife have hosted both fundraisers and sign making parties for Ms. Bloom. That is far more than just a supporter like you are. That being said, I also think that others on the Council were also politically motivate.

    And, Joe Morgan, we should have coffee sometime so that I can share with you in detail all of the information I have about the players in this. My thoughts are not gossip and innuendo. I am witness to the political nastiness of many of the council and their words.

  10. Thanks for the clarification. I’m not going to defend anyone on the City Council for what they did, especially not Mr. Bernheim. If he were running for reelection, I’d have a lot more to say about him. I’ll just say good riddance. Lora Petso is the one person on Council who wisely distanced herself from this.

    You may indeed have good reasons for some of the thoughts you’ve expressed. But if you are going to express those thoughts publicly, I think I have a right to dismiss them as gossip unless you publicly disclose the facts behind them. Calling them gossip is my way of pointing out that they are unsubstantiated. I am holding you to a similar standard that a judge would hold you to in a court of law.

    I’m certain that I would enjoy coffee with you. But my views here are unblemished by insider information, and my passion for transparency makes me want to keep it that way.

  11. Since when is Ms. Cole being asked to provide a time sheet so that it can be passed to the State Auditor’s office harassment? Give me a break.

  12. Does anyone know if the Censure deal prevents DJ for doing his duties as a council member or is it just a hand slap idea? If he is prevented from doing his duties as a council member what duties is he not allow to do?

  13. Darrol — the censure resolution recommends (but does not necessarily require) that the council president remove Mr. Wilson from his committee assignments.

  14. Thanks Stohn Nishino now I know where to go to get my answers. DJ wrote me that he cannot do committee work for 60 days so I will check with Council President Peterson about what he has done or not done.

  15. First, thank you Mr. Wilson for clarifying the issue by releasing detailed information – it is certainly helpful. That said, I’m disturbed all parties involved in this drama that is simply distracting our leaders from work that desperately needs to be done. Here are my bullet points:

    * To the council members who forced the censure issue, shame on you for this political hackery. While I agree that Mr. Wilson shouldn’t have taken on this role in negotiations (see next point), I think the rush to paint a scarlet letter on anyone is ill advised especially at the cost of being fair to the person accused. The only thing that waiting a week or two to take the same action would have cost is some serious political points… which tells me that this was simply dirty politics.

    * To Mr. Wilson, while I appreciate your efforts to help two friends work through a very trying situation, I’m dismayed that you thought you could simply ‘take off your council member hat’ while dealing with an incredibly controversial issue involving the mayor and multiple city employees. I would think that in your responsibility to the citizens of Edmonds, you would have represented our interests first before the interests of your personal friends.

    I’m simply not sure why you weren’t able to see the clear conflict of interest that being of part of this situation presented. If it turns out that the complaints regarding Ms. Cole are indeed with merit, then you will have given a generous severance package to someone who’s already been receiving a sweetheart deal being well paid for 40hrs of work while not working all of them.

    * Regarding Ms. Cole’s claims of harassment, I’ve been very interested in hearing the outcome of the investigation/research ever since I read the article in the Seattle Times (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016418199_edmonds06m.html) that seemed to show that she did all the following simultaneously
    (a) served on Lynnwood City Council
    (b) worked as executive assistant to the Mayor of Edmonds
    (c) attended Seattle University School of Law and
    (d) is a single mother of a son.

    Ever since reading this I’ve wondered how anyone could adequately handle even 3 of the 4 things listed – I frankly think many people would struggle at doing a great job at just 2 of them. But all 4 simply seems improbably, if not impossible, to believe.

    What seems easier to believe, as cynical as it seems, is that a good friend gave another good friend a ‘cush’ job with a very loosely interpreted idea of ‘flex hours’ to help while they finished law school, served on another city council and cared for their child. This must have been painful to watch for those actually working 40+ hours for the City, especially after having seen their hardworking colleagues laid off, and their compensation cut. I easily imagine why they’d be angry to see someone making $70k a year just skating by.

    In the end, I’m just sad for my town of Edmonds. This petty, ugly controversy is not what our town is about or should be about. I sincerely hope that all the facts are brought into the bright, cleansing light of day as soon as possible so we can kill this infection and move on.

  16. Teresa,

    What the chances of seeing a complete copy of the Council Resolution censuring DJ reported in print??

    Maybe I missed it somewhere in the voluminous published blathering of DJ and/or about DJ’s combative responses. I don’t think any other news outfit else has published it either. It always helps to know something about what we are all talking about prior to a barrage of opinion about it..

    • DJ Wilson supplied the censure resolution in paper form, which I’ve scanned into three separate files (sorry that I don’t have the software to combine the pages into one file at the moment). They are here:
      Page 1
      Page 2
      Page 3

  17. Mr. Jame:

    In your great summary of the situation you missed an additional activity, Ms Cole was also a Hospital Commissioner at the same time as she was holding the other positions.

  18. Sorry – not sure where to post this, but just saw on the Herald’s website that the State Patrol is conducting a criminal investigation of County Executive Aaron Reardon related to an allegation of a possible misappropriation or misuse of public funds. State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said they were asked to do so by the Snohomish County prosecutor.

    Maybe Teresa can post a link for those interested.

  19. DJ negotiates a generous severance with his friend, paid for by our tax dollars. Then he hides the fact that he did that from the city council who must approve the deal! Sheesh. The council did the right by quickly censuring him.

    Terresa, thanks for getting those docs up.

  20. Maybe we should break this all down to the logical groupings:

    1. DJ Wilson, good intentions or not, should not have mediated the separation agreement. I believe DJ should have recognized the perception of conflict of interest based upon the current political environment.
    2. Based upon their performance within the pat 45 days, the Lighthouse Group should have the current contract with the City of Edmonds terminated, and possibly a claim for all future legal settlements due to their incompetence filed on behalf of the citizens of Edmonds.
    3. A very complete and thorough investigation by an outside source, totally dedicated to reporting to the citizens of Edmonds, should be engaged to review all issues surrounding Ms. Cole’s employment (how she was hired, what job was she hired for, the requirements of the job as posted on the city web site, her qualifications for that position, why no other applicants were interviewed, her claims of alleged hostile work environment, and here say comments in DJs write-up. This engagement should be for 90 days only and provided to the citizens of Edmonds at a public hearing in Council Chambers.
    4. A very complete investigation into the dismissal of Ms. Humann by an outside source, totally dedicated to reporting to the citizens of Edmonds, should be engaged to review all issues surrounding Ms. Humann’s dismissal by Mayor Cooper. this should include all actual evidence of any wrong doing, harassment, creation of hostile work environment, improper behavior, or violation of city personnel policies. This engagement should be for 90 days only and provided to the citizens of Edmonds at a public hearing in Council Chambers.
    5. It is alleged that the sitting City Council has violated multiple state statutes in pressing ahead to present a formal censure of DJ Wilson. That should be investigated by an appropriate law enforcement organization and if appropriate legal action should be initiated in accordance with all violations.

    I don’t know about you all, but I am sick and tired of all the political shenanigans with/by/to our elected officials in Edmonds. It is time that we stand before them and demand that they work on the problems of our city NOW. I am through tolerating their juvenile behavior at meetings and will be calling them on it. I do not always agree with the solutions coming from the council, but good lord let’s get back to actually coming up with some.

  21. Teresa,

    Thank you for publishing the full resolution of letter of censure of DJ Wilson.

    Now, since DJ says he disagrees with anything and everything, I would like to see his written response to each subject, item by item, of the censure that he believes to be incorrect; minus all the “I’m not a crook” or “I did nothing wrong” political stuff. Actually, my curiosity is irrelevant, as this is strictly Council business, that is it’s between the Council and himself, minus the citizens.

    He claims he is due a public hearing However, my understanding is that he all ready had one on Tuesday night. He was asked more than once to state his objections but would only say something rude about not doing the Council’s homework. He was given ample opportunity to provide his input. He was so angry and combative and apparently only because he has been called out on his latest bit of political gamesmanship. (The Herald noted when endorsing Joan Bloom, that if elected DJ should cease the political games,( which was good but unheeded advice.)

    It appears to me that the ball was and remains in DJ’s court to answer the charges, but only in a honest and more mature manner that the Council cannot rerasonably refute. It also appears he was trying to intimidate and bully the Council members with threats, etc. instead of rationally and reasonably pointing out his objections. He gave the Council no opportunity to understand his response, thus no logical reason(s) to modify or delay the issuance of the censure.

    If he cannot convince the Council of his sincerity by a civil and honest response,and if he continues with more distracting hostile attacks, then he should resign immediately.

  22. Rob B, that may be the most even-handed summary to date. Every one of the players has made mistakes. Every one of the players has been unfairly vilified. (Actually, I’m not sure anyone has been unfair to Lighthouse Law, but I digress). Somebody could write a great book. This a tale of extraordinary complexity.

  23. I am a new resident of Edmonds. I’ve been amazed at the pettiness and ill will that exists among elected officials and city employees. All should be looking after the best interests of our citizens and their tax dollars and not auditioning for one of those phony reality TV shows. I would like to be able to trust that any elected official or city employee is looking out for Joe Citizen – so far, that trust level does not exist. Disappointing.

  24. Pete, as the Strategic Planning processs moves forward your views will be greately appreciated. The SP process will be a good way for citizens to voice their views and ideas to make govt work better.

  25. Enough self righteous rectitude in here to choke up our whole little town!
    Ray, you are absolutely right on one thing you say “Actually, my curiosity is irrelevant” Couldn’t agree more. Heck, I will go one step further and say that we don’t care what you think or say either, since you seem to be filled with hatred! Just because we are all afforded with the freedom of speech thing doesn’t mean that we do it all over. Some opinions are better expressed in the presence of a shrink before you are fit to actually spew irrelevant/hateful opinions in the outside world. Just saying.
    Now…
    I am beginning to like this DJ guy. He was asked by the Mayor to negotiate a settlement for the benefit of the city/all of us. He did it in a transparent manner. The deal DJ offered to this Cole lady seems to me very favorable for the city. $65,000 is a small sum (one would say a very fair sum, as well) to get this issue to go away so these councilmen can go on serving the community as opposed to having them and the entire city drenched in this filthy affair. Those of you who think that the amount offered to Cole is too high, I ask you this: What will the actual number be when the attorneys get all over this case and other cases which will probably make it to court as a result of the “censure”? What $ value do you assign for the community’s suffering as a result of more lawsuits that will ensue. How much will the city pay in attorneys fees to redeem itself from these illegal actions?
    Censuring DJ behind closed doors without him present to present his case and denying him a hearing is downright communist and probably illegal,no? Doing so one week before elections is CRIMINAL!

    I have never voted in these local elections but I for sure will vote for DJ this time around. Injustice here is reminiscent of my old communist comrades I grew up with and didn’t miss!

    DJ took his out of the box thinking and went on his duty as a good citizen to fix a potentially explosive case for the benefit of all, nip it in the bud, sort of speak. Instead of being censured, he should be acknowledged for going out of his way to do good for the city and the entire community.

    More lawsuits are forthcoming…shit has hit the fan and these commies/councilmen are right in front of the fan with the rest of the community right behind them…self righteousness is about to turn into indigestion for the “councilmen” and nausea for the entire community. Cheerio.

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