Councilmembers Buckshnis, Nelson schedule Oct. 26 town meeting to hear from citizens

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Diane Buckshnis
Diane Buckshnis
Mike Nelson
Mike Nelson

Edmonds City Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis and Mike Nelson have scheduled their own town meeting for Monday, Oct. 26 “to hear from our citizens about how we are doing and their ideas for the future of Edmonds,” Buckshnis said. The meeting will be at Bridgid’s Bottleshop at Salish Crossing from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“We hope that folks will come with ideas and potential answers or solutions to their issues or concerns,” Buckshnis said. “We hope that the meeting will be informative and positive. We will have a format established so everyone gets a chance to be heard.”

Due to the location, participants must be 21 or older to participate.

16 COMMENTS

  1. One of the highest scoring items in the Strategic Action Plan was Town Hall Meetings. Congratulation to Diane and Mike for their leadership to get these Town Halls going.

  2. I hope that part of this Town Meeting will address what should happen when the Mayor and staff violate the Code and/or act unethically. These issues aren’t new. For example, following are excerpts from Comments made by Ms. Buckshnis on My Edmonds News back in February of 2011:

    “Personally for me (and I don’t want to drag this on) I learned that if an employee does not comply with an ordinance that action or non-action is a performance issue. Mr. Snyder indicated he had counseled both Mayors on this fact which began as early as May of last year. While Mr. Snyder defended his role as being an advisor and the Mayor as the administrator and quoted the RCWs, I don’t think anyone should be held above the law. Laws are written and passed and should be complied with as if not, what signal does that send to the other employees?”

    And:

    “According to Lighthouse attorney’s and discussed with Scott Snyder, the Mayor is responsible. I do not understand how an employee can break the law month or quarter after quarter.”

    Again – following are the Mayor’s responsibilities per our Code:

    The mayor shall be the chief executive and administrative officer of the city, in charge of all departments and employees, with authority to designate assistants and department heads. The mayor shall see that all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced and that law and order is maintained in the city, and shall have general supervision of the administration of city government and all city interest. [Ord. 2349 § 2, 1983].

    I believe Citizens need various paths to employ when Mayors don’t meet their responsibilities – and that path should not be limited to only those who have enough money to go to court. This is one reason I had hoped our Code of Ethics would 1.)cover Directors and staff, 2.)require that those covered under the Code of Ethics shall not knowingly violate any Washington statutes, city ordinances or regulations in the course of performing duties and 3.) have an independent board to review Code of Ethics complaints. We were 0 for 3 on those three items – at least so far. Maybe a much improved Code of Ethics can also be discussed at the October 26th Town Meeting.

    Hopefully City Staff will stay out of the Legislative process when Council gets back to work on the Code of Ethics.

  3. I believe it is the responsibility of Mayors to hire the BEST people for our town and also for the Mayor to set the standard to lead. Examples would be hiring people who have expertise and education in the field for which they are hired, ethical people who do not cavalierly break and skirt laws, staff who do not create dangerous situations for citizens and visitors to our city, and to set the tone and example of the kind of leadership with honesty, integrity and ethics that is expected of our Mayor and our government.

    Our leaders also need to address unfair actions against some of our best and brightest citizens. Not being answerable to anybody (citizens) and just sweeping under the carpets acts that still continue to hugely impact citizens is simply not acceptable. Wars around the world unfold because of similar behavior.

    While town meetings such as these are helpful and informative, it is the quality of LEADERSHIP that our citizens look for to live in a safe, honest and ethical city period. ……something I hope our leader takes to heart

    and the ol’ boys/girls club is really a relic of the past and does not belong in an enlightened government anywhere!

  4. Mr. Reidy – the Council had every opportunity to make amendments to the Code of Ethics when it was presented and no amendments occurred and Ms. Bloom left the dais out of anger (even though she could have started making amendments).

    The quotes you have used are out of context and folks have no idea what or who I was speaking about and that, was the former Finance Director who refused to make any changes to the financial reports which utilized a modified working-capital calculation to provide a General Fund Balance (and some items included in the calculation were not even current cash equivalents) and in the end, he even refused to show up at Finance Committee Meetings. As a Council we could have done a variety of things except he decided to put forth a claim of harassment (which was an unfounded charge); and then he left. The Interim Finance Director, Jim Tarte and I worked towards financial transparency, accountability, and ensuring all fund balances were reported and that carried on with Shawn Hunstock. Financial transparency has been accomplished and Mr. James is now doing a great job moving the City’s financial goals forward which will soon include long-range planning.

    I hope that this Town Hall Meeting is fun and easy-going and addresses items that both Mr. Nelson and I can respond to and not issues that occurred under a different Mayor, Council, Directors, and Attorney.

    As I indicated before, there will be a sign in sheet which will allow folks to provide the topics they want to discuss and we will attempt to hear everyone’s comments but we are also looking for solutions.

    • I believe the quotes I have used are not out of context in any fashion. You have made comments about the Mayor’s responsibilities and stated how you do not understand how an employee can break the law month or quarter after quarter. Other citizens have the right to similar thoughts.

      The adoption of the Code of Ethics was subpar for many reasons. For example, you yourself edited it after it left Committee before it came before full Council. Your edits were discussed during the April 14, 2015 Council Study Session.

      During the January 13, 2015 you suggested starting small with the Code of Ethics and expanding as necessary. I think it was started as small as possible and my opinion is that the citizens would benefit if it was expanded soon.

    • Hey D. Buckshnis wish I could be there but can’t. Thanks to you and Nelson for taking extra time to do it. ANyway, you go on with the town hall meeting anyway you want because it’s up to you to decide. Maybe someday those other armchair politicians can run for office and win (unlikely) and then have a town hall meeting about anything they want.

  5. Council member, Ms. Buckshnis, you neglect to mention that there were others who walked out in protest against what appeared to many as a dog and pony show or in my mind, smoke amd mirrors.

    Yes, the SOLUTION is for an ethical and law abiding government……It doesnt get any simpler than that. That is what we expect from our elected officials and nothing less.

  6. How about a critique after the Town Hall meeting? Let’s hear what they and the citizens have to chat about and how it goes. Then let the reviews fly! Too bad it is in a “21 and older” establishment so our younger voters can’t attend…but hey, it is still a meeting to discuss issues.

  7. I like the idea of the town halls and glad that this one has been scheduled. While this one appears to be open-ended, I hope there will be future town halls that are subject/topic specific. This meeting could be a good springboard to determine those future meeting topics.

    It would also be great to have them in community spaces (library, school auditorium, etc.).

    Thank you, Bridgid’s Bottleshop, for hosting.

  8. Thanks to these to council members for having this meeting cant believe the negative comments . Maybe they should have there own meeting. Getting tired of all the negative comments

  9. So, Mr. Reidy, what exactly is your specific beef? How has the current Mayor and/or staff acted unethically? Spell it out for us, if you can. Are we talking about procedural transgressions, a simple desire for more transparency (despite in many cases what the City attorney might say), or should we be worried about Chicago gangster investors darkening our streets?

    With all due respect, and you, unlike certain others who post frequently on MEN, certainly deserve that, why do you believe our City government is so corrupt and non-transparent? Do you seriously believe our City works outside the bounds of reasonable governance? I don’t, but I respectfully await your reply.

  10. Thank you for your interest Mr. Johnston. A few months ago, I offered to meet with you. I am very willing to do so should you want to. I would consider it a privilege to have a chance to meet with you in person.

    I only have a short window of time this morning, so I will provide just three examples, in 3 separate posts. The first is a repeat from a comment I made on July 17, 2015 – I really hope you have time to watch my audience comments made during the April 28, 2015 City Council meeting. Following are the comments I made on July 17, 2015:

    Mr. Johnston – I am happy to meet with you at your convenience to discuss this in much more detail. Please contact me as soon as possible.

    I really hope you will meet with me. I continue to stay involved as a citizen and a large part of my motivation is to do what I can to encourage the City to behave properly and legally so that other citizens won’t be harmed by the City’s choices.

    If you want an example of the City’s illegal conduct, please watch my audience comments made during the April 28, 2015 City Council meeting. I start speaking shortly after the 5 minute mark during Audience comments. If you don’t care to watch that video, following are my comments:

    Hi, Ken Reidy of Edmonds. I hold in my hand a temporary construction easement document from tonight’s Council agenda packet. Temporary construction easements must be granted to the City when the City has a true public need to use another’s property. That requirement is what this grant document is all about. It is a common basic document. The granting of an easement also comes into play during the City’s vacation of a street easement that is not needed for public ingress or egress. For example, the City may need to maintain a utility pipe under the easement area being vacated. In these situations, the City Council can pass a resolution of intent to vacate the street easement as long as the property owner grants a different easement to the City in exchange for the street easement being vacated. Per the code, this condition must be met within 90 days.

    So please, after you review agenda item 10 tonight, please take a moment and appreciate that wow, incredibly, the City chose to violate the City’s own code related to my property. There is no resolution of intent to vacate; our code requires such. There also is no grant document like this related to what the City did to me. Our code requires a grant.
    As you know, the illegal easement caused great harm for years and years that lives on and on.

    Please look at Edmonds City Code 2.01.010 which documents the duties of the Mayor. The Mayor shall see that all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced. The word is shall which is mandatory. The City’s code does not state that once the City has chosen to commit an illegal act, the Mayor is suddenly relieved of his duty to see that all laws and ordinances are followed. Such would be crazy and would lead to great injustices.

    Why would any of you act as if once the City has chosen to break a law, the burden to see that the related City law is followed is shifted to others. The code is clear. This not the citizen’s burden, the Mayor shall see that all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced.

    This is simple and basic. There was no grant. That should have been the end of story, case closed. Instead this City acted as if it had a grant and used the illegal temporary construction easement to attack my private property via permanent code enforcement. Permanent code enforcement related to a temporary easement.

    Okay, Council may have been fooled before they voted on that illegal easement but all have had years of opportunities to address what took place. Why the refusal to do so? How can you ask people to trust the City when the City refuses to correct its own violations of the code? Thank you.

  11. Example #2:
    Following are EXCERPTS from an email I sent to Mayor Earling on July 31, 2014. To this day, I strongly believe that what took place related to the CCCEO was extremely unjust:

    I am concerned that you have wrongly interfered with the organization, operation, and actions of the Edmonds’ Citizens’ Commission on the Compensation of Elected Officials (“CCCEO”). This is a very serious matter as the CCCEO’s task was to prepare and file its schedules of recommended compensation for elected officials, including your office of Mayor.

    Please provide the State law that grants you the authority (unilateral?) to rule an appointment to a Board or Commission is void after the appointment has been made by another City official(s).

    Assuming that you do have this authority, please provide the related procedures that must be followed, including the appeal rights of the Commission Member who has been ruled ineligible after appointment.

    Finally, please explain your responsibility to rule other illegal actions of City Officials to be void after the fact. If you do possess this power, how do you make sure you use the power in a fair fashion, applied equally to all citizens?

  12. Example #3:

    Per RCW 39.34.030, in the event that the Interlocal Agreement does not establish a separate legal entity to conduct the joint or cooperative undertaking, provision must be made for administering the joint or cooperative undertaking.

    Under the City’s Interlocal Agreement with Fire District 1, the District Fire Chief and the City Mayor and/or their designees shall act as administrators of the Interlocal Agreement for purposes of RCW 39.34.030.

    RCW 39.34.030 is State law.

    It is supposed to be a joint or cooperative undertaking.

    Under the City of Edmonds contract with Snohomish County Fire District 1, “The District Fire Chief and the Mayor shall present a joint annual report to the Edmonds City Council prior to July 31.”

    From the Interlocal Agreement for Fire and Emergency Medical Services:

    8. OVERSIGHT and REPORTING
    8.1 Agreement Administrators. The District Fire Chief and the City Mayor
    and/or their designees, shall act as administrators of this Agreement for
    purposes of RCW 39.34.030. During the term of this Agreement, the District Fire
    Chief shall provide the Mayor with quarterly reports concerning the provision of
    services under this Agreement. The format and topics of the reports shall be
    agreed upon by the District Fire Chief and the Mayor. Additionally, two District
    Board Commissioner members and two City Council members, along with the
    District Fire Chief and the Mayor, shall meet at least once per calendar year, on
    or before April 1, for the purpose of communicating about issues related to this
    Agreement. The District Fire Chief and the Mayor shall present a joint annual
    report to the Edmonds City Council prior to July 31.

    The interlocal agreement clearly states that: The District Fire Chief and the Mayor SHALL present a joint annual report to the Edmonds City Council prior to July 31.

    I believe this is very important. This is a big budget item and I think the interlocal agreement requires the Mayor to be actively involved in oversight, reporting and administration. For example, I believe the District Fire Chief and Mayor should have jointly presented a discussion of the upcoming Contract Payment Adjustment. An open and transparent discussion of such may help prevent surprises.

  13. To answer your final questions, my belief that our City government sometime chooses to do the wrong thing and sometimes chooses to be non-transparent is based on my personal experiences with the City and the related detailed research that I have done.

    If you have time, read the September 16, 2008 City Council Meeting Minutes. You will see the former City Attorney intervene into a public hearing and recommend an action different than the Mayor and staff’s recommended action. You will see the former Development Services Director state that “this option only arose late this afternoon” and that he believed it wasn’t necessary.

    I didn’t even know what a Temporary Construction Easement was when I heard it mentioned for the first time that night. I had a gut feeling that such could not possibly be allowed under the law. During public comments, I voiced my strong opposition to such. Sadly, my public comments opposing the easement were ignored.

    That easement has had a huge impact on my life and is really the root reason for my active role as a citizen. I continue to stay involved as a citizen and a large part of my motivation is to do what I can to encourage the City to behave properly and legally so that other citizens won’t be harmed by the City’s choices.

    I believe that the City works inside the bounds of reasonable governance the great majority of the time. The City government is staffed by humans and from time to time wrong choices will be made and/or mistakes will be made. In these situations, I think the City government has a duty to correct its improper conduct and/or errors. By admitting wrong when necessary, and taking steps to correct the related harm done, the City government can show all citizens that it can be trusted.

  14. Mr. Johnston – I see you made a new comment on My Edmonds News. It reminded me that you never responded to the 4 posts I made on October 7th after you asked me several questions and said that you would respectfully wait for my reply. I spent a couple hours and made 4 comments in response to your request and then I never heard back from you.

    I restate my offer to meet with you. I am very willing to do so should you want to. I would consider it a privilege to have a chance to meet with you in person. Please contact me – I am easy to find.

    I am happy to meet with others also – so please invite other people if you’d prefer to – the more the better.

    A couple other points – almost every street or alley vacation between 2000 and 2012 violated the code for one reason or another. Isn’t that incredible? Also, I can show you that the City has hired a consultant to provide guidance on best engineering practices for construction of a retaining wall and then the City approved the related civil construction plans weeks before the consultant submitted their Technical Memorandum.

    I hope you will contact me as I have lots of information and documentation that you may find to be of interest.

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