Mesaros kicks off campaign for Edmonds City Council Position 6

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Tom Mesaros speaks to supporters Thursday.
Tom Mesaros speaks to supporters Thursday.
Councilmember Tom Mesaros kicked off his run to retain his seat on the Edmonds City Council in front of more than 50 enthusiastic supporters on Thursday evening.

Mesaros was appointed to the council to fill the Position 6 term of former Councilmember Frank Yamamoto, who resigned in December 2013 for health reasons. In one of the more drawn-out Council appointment processes, Mesaros was chosen on the 59th ballot and took his seat in March, 2014.

Held at the newly-opened Scratch craft distillery in Salish Crossing, Mesaros was quick to point out that even though he is running unopposed, he feels an obligation to the community to articulate his positions and let voters know what he stands for, his values, and his positions on critical issues.

“There are three things that best describe what I will bring to the City Council,” he said. “These are leadership, collaboration and stewardship.”

Mesaros went on to describe what these mean and how he plans to bring these values to bear on Council.

A group of more than 50 supporters, family and well-wishers gathered at Scratch Distillery for the kickoff.
A group of more than 50 supporters, family and well-wishers gathered at Scratch Distillery for the kickoff.
“To me, leadership is seeing what has to be done, seeing how to get it done, and then doing the work to actually accomplish it,” he said. “I believe this happens best in an atmosphere of collaboration, where colleagues listen to what others say, take the best ideas, and together forge the best approach.”

He explained that stewardship overlays all of this by providing a set of values to guide decisions. “It’s about taking care of the things we have, the things we care about,” he said. “Things like our waterfront, our parks, our shopping areas, our beautiful downtown, our natural resources like the Marsh, and very importantly our distinctive neighborhoods from Highway 99 to Five Corners to Firdale to Perrinville.

“But you need the right people to do this,” he said, “people who share these values. And that’s why, as I run for my own seat, I’m also supporting the candidacies of Mike Nelson, Dave Teitzel and Neil Tibbott.

Speaking in support of Mesaros were Edmonds resident and Snohomish County prosecuting attorney Adam Cornell, and Edmonds residents David Schaefer, Marla Miller and Maria Montalvo.

Learn more about Tom Mesaros at http://democracy.com/mesaros.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

10 COMMENTS

  1. Collaboration?:

    The November 3, 2014 City Council Agenda included potential action on the Woodway Police Services Contract. The agenda item indicates that the previous Council Action was:

    Discussed by Finance Committee on September 9, 2014, with committee request that the matter be scheduled for full council discussion.

    Mr. Mesaros was not on the Finance Committee on September 9, 2014. As such, I would like open and transparent disclosure of what took place that led to the following being documented in the minutes:

    From the November 3, 2014 City Council Approved Minutes:

    Councilmember Petso referred to an email she received from Councilmember Mesaros that contained different terms than in the packet. She asked Councilmember Mesaros to comment on the status of his proposal. Councilmember Mesaros relayed he had a very productive discussion with Woodway Mayor Nichols last Friday but they were not able to reach agreement on the terms he suggested. He felt there was more research to be done to reach an agreement between the City and Woodway including the statistics and approach offered by Mr. Wambolt.

    Questions – under what authority did Mr. Mesaros meet with Mayor Nichols by himself and suggest different terms? What authority did Mr. Wambolt have to be involved in this process?

  2. Later in the minutes, it states:

    Mayor Earling asked whether Woodway was agreeable to a six month term. Councilmember Mesaros answered he mentioned it in passing to Mayor Nichols but had not waited for a response.

    I am simply confused at how the City got to this point. The actions of Mr. Mesaros and the ideas of Mr. Wambolt may have been very valuable. However, an open and transparent government probably should have disclosed how it was decided that Mr. Mesaros had the authority to negotiate with Mayor Nichols. I searched all City Council Minutes between September 9th and November 3rd, 2014 and found no action taken by Council to have Mr. Mesaros do so. Did he act on his own or did somebody ask him to do so?

    • I do not know what caused Councilmember Mesaros to meet with Mayor Nichols, but his action was certainly not inappropriate or abnormal. Both of them would have known that any agreement that they may arrive at would be subject to the approval of city council as well as Woodway’s town council.

      The reference to my approach was what I had suggested during audience comments at a city council meeting open to the public.

  3. Thanks for clarifying what the reference to your statistics and approach related to.

    I understand that anything agreed to by Councilmember Mesaros and Mayor Nichols would have been subject to Council Approval. I simply believe an open and transparent government discloses how that meeting or meetings came to be.

    I would think it better had Council collaborated and voted to have Mr. Mesaros meet with Mayor Nichols to discuss and negotiate. To me it seems abnormal that a member of our legislative branch met to negotiate a contract with the Woodway Mayor. Hopefully an explanation will be provided.

  4. On November 3, 2014, the City Council voted 6 to 1 to approve a 6 month Police Services agreement with Woodway. Councilmember Mesaros’ motion stated the City wanted more time to review statistics and negotiate further with Woodway. Councilmember Fraley-Monillas seconded the motion.

    Before the 6-1 vote, Councilmember Fraley-Monillas made it very clear she wanted information available on Point Wells and Councilmember Bloom expressed support for re-evaluating the contract in six months.

    But the Council did not take 6 months to review statistics and negotiate further with Woodway.

    Instead, on December 9, 2014 – an amendment to the 6 month Woodway Police Services Contract approved by the City Council on November 3, 2014 showed up on the Agenda.

    Was the review of statistics and negotiations with Woodway already complete?

    Councilmembers Bloom and Petso expressed surprise and concern over this quick change of direction and Councilmember Fraley-Monillas was absent.

    In his attempt to respond to the concern, Councilmember Mesaros represented that his intention when he made the motion for a 6 month agreement was to allow conversations with Woodway to continue.

    This representation seems inconsistent with his November 3, 2014 motion. Councilmember Mesaros’ November 3, 2014 motion also stated the City wanted more time to review statistics.

    He actually stated on December 9, 2014: “So the purpose of that 6 months from my standpoint was to have those talks. Those talks have now been had and we came to the conclusion that we are looking at this evening.”

    Say what? What about taking the time to review statistics? What about Councilmember Fraley-Monillas request for Point Wells information?

    Councilmember Mesaros claims that he brings collaboration to the City Council. I think the December 9, 2014 City Council Meeting provides an example of the opposite of collaboration – fellow Councilmembers surprised and confused by the actions of other Councilmembers. Is this how Council should work together to forge the best approach?

    Hopefully somebody will also step up and tell us how Councilmember Mesaros came to be in a position where he was negotiating with the Mayor of Woodway. During the September 9, 2014 Finance Committee meeting, Chief Compaan indicated that Mayor Earling and Mayor Nichols had reached agreement related to the draft contract. As such, how did Councilmember Mesaros end up negotiating with Mayor Nichols after Mayor Earling had already reached an agreement with her?

  5. I just found the following in the November 17, 2014 Town of Woodway Council Minutes:

    Mayor Nichols announced the City of Edmonds will reconsider the Woodway Police
    Contract at their December 2 Council meeting.

    So – two weeks after The Edmonds City Council had voted 6-1 to take more time (6 months) to review statistics and negotiate further with Woodway – the Mayor of Woodway already knew that the City Council would reconsider the Woodway Police Contract.

    Hopefully somebody will explain this circus.

  6. We need to have a government in Edmonds that does not believe they are above the laws, rules a regulations.

    I agree with Mr. Reidy……..our representative need to be accountable……..Again, were not living in the 50s with behind closed door meetings and no transparency or people not having to be accountable

    Again we need a Code of Ethics with consequences

  7. And how is Mr. Mesaros’s negotiations any different than the negotiations that Councilmember Wilson’s negotiation with Ms. Cole that got him censured?

  8. Resolution No. 1261 does establish a precedent of censure for attempting to mediate a separation agreement without first obtaining authority from the City Council to do so.

    I would think it possible that a City Councilmember has to first obtain authority from the City Council before trying to negotiate a contract.

    I found some old related emails. On Nov 5, 2014, I emailed then Council President Buckshnis:

    Council President Buckshnis,
    Do you know how Council Member Mesaros came to meet with Mayor Nichols and discuss reaching terms that he was suggesting they might reach agreement on?
    Was he negotiating contract terms on his own? If so, who authorized him to do this? I reviewed the September 9, 2014 Finance Committee Meeting minutes and see no mention of this.
    Thanks,
    Ken
    Remaining Council blind cc’d

    She responded as follows, failing to answer my questions:

    Hello Ken
    I have not copied Council on this as I don’t think at this juncture it is necessary. I think Mr. Mesaros was misquoted or misunderstood and was basically some alternatives. In the interim, he is working on this issue.
    Thanks
    Diane
    Diane Buckshnis
    City Council Position #4

    She cc’d her email to Mr. Mesaros only.

    I thanked her for her review.

    Looking back, it would have been nice if my simple questions had been answered. Hopefully somebody will have the integrity to disclose how Mr. Mesaros got involved in these negotiations when Mayor Earling and Mayor Nichols had already agreed on the draft contract. Did the City Council vote to authorize Mr. Mesaros to negotiate?

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