Letter to Editor: Council’s censure action appalling

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Editor:
 
I am appalled at the actions of five of our City Councilmembers.  Last week, one or more city councilmembers broke the law by releasing confidential material to the Beacon. Ignoring this crime, this week five of them instead voted to censure DJ Wilson by passing around a resolution at 11:00 at night!
 
By their own admission, they believe Wilson committed no crime, and broke no code of ethics.  They weren’t even clear why they censured him!  With an election next week, I can guess.
 
Did they censure a councilmember for admitting to child abuse? No.
 
Did they censure another councilmember for vandalizing public property? No.
 
Did they censure two other councilmembers for harassing city staff?  No.
 
Did they censure another councilmember for intending to make a personal profit from a city contract he was voting on?  No.
 
Then why censure Councilman Wilson now?  Was there a conflict of interest?  No.  Were there any laws broken?  No.  Was a code of ethics violated?  No.  Are at least four of the five actively supporting Wilson’s opponent?  Yes.
 
There are no grounds for censuring DJ Wilson, other than the fact that there is an election next week.  This action is despicable.
 
Kate Nishino
Edmonds

37 COMMENTS

  1. Great job Kate. I was in the room for the public portion of the meeting, and we are told, the matter wasn’t discussed in executive session. This appeared to me personal and political. I saw a set of people that apparently can no longer imagine what the public sees in them and this action.

  2. You are correct Kate. This is the same group that wanted to buy Skippers without knowing: 1. How they were going to pay for it., 2. What they were going to do with it. and 3. Run no tests to see what could be done if they bought it.
    And to censure someone for breaking no laws makes complete sense using the same logic.

  3. Dave , very cleaver use of the word office do you mean his business office or his position on the council. Yes to the first the second dont think so but we may never know as the council for politcal reasons rushed to judgement and Dave I m sure you have no axe to grind

  4. I urge all citizens to watch channel 21 @ 2 to 3PM or 9 to 10 PM this week prior to voting.

    You will get quite a different story than DJ’s questionable “facts” as reported by him above.

    For instance:

    1. You will hear the specific charges very clearly stated!
    2. DJ refused to answer the charges at least twice saying that he “would not do their homework”.
    3. The City Attorney pointed out that DJ did have the opportunity to respond to the charges which were delivered to him last Saturday, three days prior.
    4. The City Attorney also pointed out that the Council meeting was a public hearing for purposes of DJ’s response. Yet DJ refused to respond to the charges.
    5. And isn’t it right and proper and TRANSPARENT for citizens to have all the possible available information provided to them before they vote; instead of finding out they were deceived after the election? Again, the TV tape of the meeting sounds far more convincing and transparent to me than DJ’s outright misleading deflections. For instance they didn’t charge DJ for gun smuggling either; so why shouild he be blathering about being innocent of child abuse, vandalism etc. Council person Adrienne Fraley Monilas was certainly correct when she told DJ he was combative and that was why he wasn’t making good sense.

    So watch and listen to the tape, the real (Mc Coy) record and THEN make a judgment about who is correct. DJ or Council persons Plunkett, Monilas, Buckshnis, Peterson, and Bernheim.

  5. I think people should read the Beacon article. It appears even after the payoff the City could still be sued for a hostile workplace. If so, that is appalling.

  6. Ray I couldnt agree with you more on viewing the tape. I didnt interpitate it your way but the public will make there own dicission. To me it was a travisty and a public hearing not on the agenda and after 11:00 is not a public hearing. You would scream if it was done that way over zoning or land use. You will also be able to hear Diane talk about klandistine meetings and have to be corrected by the mayor and try to deflect the leaking of executive session material away from the council only to have the mayor inform her that the only people who had the material was the council.

  7. OK, Joe, you’ve got me. I plead guilty to be an old outdated fudd.

    Nonetheless please watch channel 21 this week. The DJ show begins a couple of minutes after @2PM and 9Pm and last about an hour.

  8. In a rush to judgment Tuesday night, the Edmonds City Council assured us that we will be paying for another big lawsuit against our city. By censuring D.J. Wilson before the election, it is obvious what the true intent is. Politics and hidden agendas ruled the evening. Why not just come out with the truth? You all want D.J. off the council. This was our intention and it stinks. Not so much the content, but the method. D.J. has been proven guilty of nothing. The council could point to no legal or ethical violations to support their censure. One week until after the election and letting D.J. explain his side of the story in public would have been the correct way to handle this. Couple this with the fact bought out by the Mayor that someone on this council other than D.J. leaked confidential information that was suppose to be protected by executive session to the press. We have the makings of an ongoing scandal. Whoever that person is, is the one who should be resigning from the council.

  9. Dave:
    It’s a sure bet that Ms. Cole is going to make off with a hell of a lot more $$$ then
    the deal D.J. negotiated for 65 grand. This was no sweet deal, this was a bargain for the city negotiated at the Mayors request and legal counsels approval.D.J. would have saved the city big money that we will now have to pay.
    My opinion.
    Dave Page

  10. I agree with dave would also like to add. I don’t even know why they have public comment at those meetings the mayor nor council tell you anything that is going on. Whats the point of public comment when the public isn’t informed about anything. There are servants of the public well they should quit acting like its there own private company, because it isn’t.

  11. What on earth good did that settlement agreement do if Ms. Coles could still sue the City for a Hostile Work Environment? (I also wonder why what she was offered was considerably higher than what Debbie Humann was offered)

    I agree the timing of the censure appears to be politically motivated (except for in the case of Strom Peterson who usually votes with DJ).. And what good does the censure do anyway? But why on earth didn’t DJ have the courtesy to contact his fellow councilmembers before embarking on some rogue adventure like this?

    Everyone here seems to want to take sides on this. The way I look at, all the key players that are mentioned made terrible choices and decisions. This is shameful for Edmonds. We definitely need some new blood at the City, or people with a better and more selfless attitude.

  12. One issue seems to be overlooked, the city of Edmonds is starring at a number of potential lawsuits. It is a challenge to avoid lawsuits when plaintiffs believe federal and state laws have been broken, —EEOC, civil rights laws (discrimination), issues covering whistle blowing, harassment, sexual harassment, including emotional and mental harassment, libel, slander, human resource issues of many other forms.

    Personnel management, HR issues are mostly confidential matters that cannot be subject to transparency and the public domain. This case currently seems to be a matter of let’s get DJ, instead of working on solving the HR problem currently existing.

    Who pays for lawsuits? The public does. If issues goes to court and if judgement exceeds liability insurance damages, in the case of for example a city, citizens may face stiffer property taxes to cover the difference.

    I have not discussed with DJ his motivation for coming to the aid of the mayor, Kimberly Cole, city attorney etc., but I do believe that Edmonds city council kissed a cheap solution goodbye.

  13. Isn’t the root cause of all of these legal actions the hiring of Kimberly Cole by the mayor at an inappropriate salary and then allowing her to have non-standard work hours?

    And in addition to having to deal with all of the legal actions, the entire city council is under suspicion for leaking the executive session information. This too is traceable to the hiring of Ms. Cole.

  14. Mr Wambolt.

    Thank you for responding.
    I do not know the root cause of potential legal actions, seems to me any of the micro managing employees and public officers could have originated some of the issues. Fact finding would tell, if such procedures ever began.

    My firm pays many, many people during a year, consequently I am familiar with salaries in my industries. I have not researched salaries paid to mayors’ assistants anywhere in Washington, so cannot say if Ms Cole was over- or under-paid.

    Laws for salaried employees here in WA:
    http://www.lni.wa.gov/workplacerights/files/policies/esa91.pdf

    And you are right, now the city council faces issues that divert attention from doing the citizen’s business.

  15. All the events enumerated by Kate Nishino above resulted in either a police investigation, a hearing or referral to the county prosecutor for investigation. Not sure why she believes the recent “censure” of Mr. Wilson is anything more than it is, a public hand-slapping. Should the council have ignored what DJ did? I don’t think they could if they wanted to. Was the timing in advance of an election the fault of the council? I don’t see how she concludes that.

  16. Susan Bauer says: Should the council have ignored what DJ did?

    They did not ignore what he did – the contract was nullified before the censure. If you exclude DJ’s actions that were approved by the city attorney, what law did he break? What policy did he fail to follow?

    Susan Bauer says: Was the timing in advance of an election the fault of the council?

    The timing of this was 100% the fault of council. Why couldn’t they delay action until after the election.

    Susan Bauer says: … a public hand-slapping.

    Nothing more than a hand slap? DJ has been removed from all committee assignments. This hurts the citizens of Edmonds.

  17. Thank you, Joe. You saved me from having to write essentially the same stuff. Susan Bauer, the wife of Council member Bernheim, is an intelligent lady. Probably we know how she arrived at such conclusions.

  18. I will be shocked if Susan Bauer or any member of Council shows up here to respond to what I said. I’m not even planning to vote for DJ and yet I can’t think of a single valid reason for what they did on Tuesday. Not one.

  19. DJ asked for public hearing which was his right according to RCW. My understanding is that public hearings are announced early, when agenda is announced, so public can be present.

  20. Joe, per your 21 & 23 comments (sorry to disapoint you…). Steve would never (in my estimation) and certainly did not tell me about or discuss with me these intentions of Council regarding a censure or even DJ’s involvement with this event, if that’s what you’re implying. Remember, Steve’s obviously only one of the majority that voted to censure DJ. By the way, a censure of the council is indeed only a formal hand slap and I am NOT aware that Strom has removed DJ from his committee assignments but please correct me if I’ve missed recent developments. Removing him from committees would be Strom’s decision alone.

    DJ himself created the unfortunate timing with the election season by making the decision to mediate between the parties in October. I can’t see how this timing is any other Council members’ fault.

    As I understand from reading censure resolution text, censure was made specifically because DJ went on to sit in on council deliberation of issues pertaining to this Cole/Cooper mess without recusing himself and, as a councilperson, for attempting to negotiate a contract between the city and a personal & professional acquaintance.

  21. Susan:
    This council loves to procrastinate; with this issue they moved with unusual haste. Delaying their censure by one or two weeks, or better still until the investigation is complete, would have been the prudent thing to do. It is even more aggravating when they classify their action as not being political.

  22. DJ and committee work. When trying to do work with DJ for a committee assignment, DJ said he could not because of the censure. I asked Council President Peterson if DJ had been removed from committee work and her said no, DJ has not been removed. DJ has work to do, Strom has not removed him from doing it, so it is time to get on with the cities business.

  23. DJ had a public hearing and the opportunity to refute the Censure Resolution. The hearing may not have been the Dog and Pony he would have orchestrated. Although, the hearing certainly was very public, giving him ample opportunity to defend himself. His choice to not defend himself and his incompetent actions and poor behavior are of his own preference. From watching channel 21, it was obvious Wilson wanted to delay the Council action. The facts as presented by both the City Council and his subsequent timeline Memo support his censure and the 5-1 vote. In his own words, DJ admits not being a City Councilmember 24/7. He wears two hats City Council and Private Citizen. And he knows the meaning of a CR2 Agreement. In my opinion, if someone highly politically connected called DJ Wilson asking him to perform heart surgery, DJ Wilson would grab the scalpel and start digging right in.
    Let us hope the voters agree a 60 day censure is not long enough. To quote Ron Wambolt “throw the Bum out”. Yes, just like the voters did to you, Ron.

  24. Another day and it’s more garbage from Tupper. I don’t ever recall saying “Throw the bum out”. If I did it certainly would have not been in reference to DJ Wilson. This city needs DJ re-elected!

  25. Finis, The subject of censure was not on the agenda and you and Ray would scream if it was about zoning or land use with out proper notice. so since it is opvious that you have a axe to grind I will give your comments no credence.

  26. The only point of paying a settlement would be to ensure that the recipient would not take legal action against the City. It is clear from everything I have read that Ms. Coles could take the settlement and still sue the City for a hostile workplace.

    Once again how was this such a good thing that DJ did for us?

  27. #33 More spew from Ron Wambolt – he doesn’t remember saying throw the bums out.

    #34 Don Hall, it isn’t opvious but obviously you can’t spell. The City Attorney correctly interpreted the state statute; City Ordinances require Public Notice and opportunity for public comment. Council Resolutions don’t require public notice. DJ was given the opportunity to defend himself and preferred not to. More to the point he threaten a lawsuit for criminal violations.

    Good luck DJ finding a Prosecuting Attorney.

    Kate: I would like to know the name of the Councilmember that was going to make a personal profit from a City Contract.

  28. Don,

    I have NEVER screamed about a “zoning or land use without proper notice”.I was not part of your conversation. So why do you attempt to vilify me falsely? Why do you attack me in your defensive antics with others. I find it a bit hurtful and rude.

    And if I noticed such an impropriety , my response would likely be to write a short civil Email to our elected officials.

    And the DJ censure was handled properly in all respects in my opinion. But we will see, won’t we? Will the Council all go to jail for breaking the law, what was it, 9 different laws?

    And while we await the outcome Don let’s have a bit more civility please!

  29. Ray , my apology for for including you, my point was that in my opinion since it was not on the agenda it was not handled properly, but as you say we will see.

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