Much has been swirling around Tuesday night’s Edmonds City Council resolution that voided two “purported separation agreements” that Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper made with his former executive assistant, Kim Cole, who resigned Sept. 22.
To review, the resolution read by Council President Strom Peterson noted that the mayor had no authority to enter into such agreements. A mayor can contract “for goods and services valued at less than $100,000,” but the agreements with Cole did not fall into either of those categories, the resolution said.
We asked Cooper via email for a statement regarding the situation; in particular regarding the language that he had no authority to enter into such agreements notwithstanding initial advice to the contrary. Here’s his statement:
“I did what I felt was in the best interest of the city based on the legal advice I received on September 22nd. I respect the council’s authority as the legislative branch of government to do what they did with the advice they were given; that is how the separation of powers works in a representative democracy. This is a delicate personnel matter that cannot and should not be debated in public. I will be consulting with the city attorney to discuss next steps.”
Perhaps Mayor Cooper should consult with a different attorney.
To the contrary this must be debated by the public for two reasons. First is the question of whether the employee actually worked the hours for which pay was given. This is a position meant to serve the public and is paid with the publics’ tax dollars. If you read the Beacon’s article last week, the issue of work/pay was mentioned both in the current setting but also for time spent on the County Council. Is there a pattern of abuse in play or not? The public needs to know.
Second, the appointed Mayor intentionally rejected the list of 100 applicants without interviews, and in doing so, he did not seek the best candidate on behalf of the public. Call it best value for the dollar, but in not looking for the best candidate through an open process, our dollars were likely not well spent. And then to hear from the Mayor’s assistant that the position was a secretarial type of work, speaks more to what was made of it as to what it should have been as with other recent Mayors. Again, the public dollar misspent.
Actually, finally, there’s the simple the question of timekeeping. By this I mean that to be paid, one must attest that they worked the hours noted and state as much in their timekeeping process. Then another person, usually the supervisor, must certify that this is so. That’s how one eventually gets paid and it certianly works in government offices. That’s how employees are held accountable for their work, and our tax dollars are properly, legally spent.
Now if timekeeping and pay were handled this way, yet we have this hue and cry about a ‘big problem’ then indeed the pubic must know what happened for the integrity of a public office is at stake as well as our tax dollars.
The Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs), particularly RPC 1.6(a), require the following of me as the City Attorney:
“A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent….”
The official comments to RPC 1.6 state:
The phrase “information relating to the representation” should be interpreted broadly. The “information” protected by this Rule includes, but is not necessarily limited to, confidences and secrets. “Confidence” refers to information protected by the attorney client privilege under applicable law, and “secret” refers to other information gained in the professional relationship that the client has requested be held inviolate or the disclosure of which would be embarrassing or would be likely to be detrimental to the client.
This prohibition also applies to disclosures by a lawyer that do not in themselves reveal protected information but could reasonably lead to the discovery of such information by a third person.
The confidentiality rule, for example, applies not only to matters communicated in confidence by the client but also to all information relating to the representation, whatever its source.
A fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that, in the absence of the client’s informed consent, the lawyer must not reveal information relating to the representation. See Rule 1.0(e) for the definition of informed consent. This contributes to the trust that is the hallmark of the client-lawyer relationship. The client is thereby encouraged to seek legal assistance and to communicate fully and frankly with the lawyer even as to embarrassing or legally damaging subject matter. The lawyer needs this information to represent the client effectively and, if necessary, to advise the client to refrain from wrongful conduct. Almost without exception, clients come to lawyers in order to determine their rights and what is, in the complex of laws and regulations, deemed to be legal and correct. Based upon experience, lawyers know that almost all clients follow the advice given, and the law is upheld.
I provide these excerpts from the RPCs in hopes that you can appreciate why I cannot comment on this matter. Thank you for your understanding.
See comment 23 here.
Time for Mayor Cooper to get Counsel who does not have a conflict of interest with him.
If the Mayor thinks that this affair should be kept from the public, then I strongly disagree. We have made progress in the transparency area in the past year and as a result several not so nice things that were being kept “private” or “secret” have been revealed. If Cooper means only to protect personal privacy thats required anyhow, thats fine. But keeping unlawful or even questionable deals or agreements secret from the public is unacceptable.
Ray et al.,
There are state and federal laws that prevent employment matters from being discussed in public. The only ones who can waive these protections are the employees.
There is a great article in the Seattle Times which gives more details on this issue. Here is the link:
According to today’s Herald, we now learn that good ‘ol DJ negotiated the bad settlement agreement. No small wonder the city now has a big dumb SNAFU on their hands.
I find it less than intelligent for the city to ask the unqualified DJ Wilson to negotiate a settlement. If he is involved the chance for bad results is multiplied. And what about conflicting interests?
And why would an honest intelligent Councilman first be involved in a city personnel negotiation? That in itself is conflicting.
And then he votes against his own work quietly, disclosing less than he knows; apparently hoping the world will not learn fully of his latest screw-up. Again a stand up above board guy would have abstained and explained why.
Finally, should there have been a negotiated agreement to begin with? Probably not!
Now, a reasonavble settlement must be sought with the city playing defense and the citizens once again losing.
So Mr. Taraday is silent until shortly after it becomes known that he apparently committed a major mistake, says no comment in long winded legalese and you call that transparency?
Ms. Baker, I respect the fact that he can’t comment, but you and I have very different ideas about what transparency means. There isn’t even a tiny shred of transparency in his comments.
The Seattle Times also has a good article further revealimg more info.
Ms. Baker: No, I am not an attorney. Here are some facts:
From today’s Herald article Cooper said he was originally told by city attorneys he had the authority to reach the agreements with Cole. Later, though, they reversed their position.
Today’s Seattle Times article similarly documents the reversal of advice.
And here’s a bit of reasoned speculation:
If Mr. Taraday had originally told the Mayor that Council approval was need, he probably could have gotten it and the City would be protected from a lawsuit from Ms. Cole. But now that protection has been eliminated.
I don’t know anything about the legality of bringing a councilmember into the negotiations, but since Council would need to approve the check, I think it made good sense to involve them. I think DJ’s efforts should be applauded. That’s not easy for me to say, since I’ve already decided I’m voting for his opponent.
I asked DJ Wilson about his role in this and here’s what he told me this morning:
“Both parties asked me, in the weeks ahead of these actions, for advice. There was alleged to have been a hostile work environment created, with multiple witnesses, including the City attorneys. This had been allegedly going on for some months.
When the mayor can’t rely on the HR director for advice because of her central role in the allegations, and when the city attorneys produce multiple and conflicting interpretations of the law, who can he talk to
about this? He asked me for advice, and I suggested he limit the city’s liability as much as possible, based upon the attorney’s advice at the time. That’s what I believe he did, and what a responsible CEO should have done.”
Ms. Baker asks: “But was Mr. Wilson representing the entire City Council in these negotiations?”
I have assumed that he tried to, but I don’t know. Only Councilmember Wilson and the other Council Members would be able to shed light on that.
City Council President Strom Peterson asked me to post the following response to your question:
“The City Council President, nor any member of the City Council knew, authorized, or approved of Council Member Wilson’s actions and involvement in negotiating this settlement agreement. Mr. Wilson was not representing the City Council in any way”.
Strom is correct that DJ had no authority to do what he did, but DJ was and did perform improperly by acting as both a Council person and an unqualified mediator, and then voting against his own contribution without disclosing the facts of his actions. And you would think a normal person would understand that, but DJ being DJ, believes he is just a little smarter than anyone else and with fewer boundaries. And he knew he was acting wrongfully.
This is certainly not the first instance of DJ going off track.
Listening to the tape of the 10/5 council meeting I distinctly hear DJ state very briefly only that he had a “personal and political relationship with Ms.Cole”, which by itself is meaningless. Councilman Bernheim then noted “That’s not much of a disclosure” seemingly inferring an incomplete statement.
And it sure wasn’t anywhere near full disclosure of DJ’s true involvement. It was simply DJ trying to slither his way out of possible responsibility for his very serious involvement by using his usual tricky devious doubletalk. He obviously did not want the whole truth to be known, and sensed some were wising up to his major participation in this big mess.
If Mayor Cooper requested DJ’s supposed expertise on his own, then he made a serious mistake. He should have used the City Attorney instead. I would more likely surmise that SJ bulled his way into the situation falsely promising all he could resolve everything. So he effectively poured gasoline on a potentially explosive situation, and then lit it.
What a mess! If dissident employees wanted to stir things up well, they have succeeded largely thanks to DJ. We simply cannot afford DJ and his behavior any longer.
Ray, I think you’ve misrepresented what Councilmember Peterson said. He said that City Council did not authorize DJ. He did not say that DJ needed authorization from City Council, and indeed he didn’t. The parties of this negotiation were entitled to bring in anybody they both approved of. DJ never claimed to represent the views of the entire Council.
DJ was a good choice to help with the negotiations for two reasons:
(1) Everybody knew (even during the initial wrong advice from the City Attorney) that any payment to Ms. Cole would have to be approved by City Council in Executive Session. DJ would naturally be there and could help explain why the payment was justified.
(2) DJ is better than anyone else currently on the City Council at explaining how he considers all sides of an issue to reach his conclusion. That is a very valuable quality during a negotiation. Although I’ve often disagreed with the conclusions DJ draws, I’ve long admired the transparency of his thought process.
The situation is all messed up because of a big mistake by the City Attorney. DJ didn’t change his mind on the validity of the contract. Throughout this process he just trusted the City Attorney on the question, as he should.
If DJ were running against any of the challengers besides Joan Bloom, he’d probably get my vote next month. It’s a shame, because he didn’t get to pick his challenger.
Ms. Baker, I didn’t see your questions until I posted that response. Hopefully that answers the first one.
I doubt DJ asked for or received any pay. But if he did, I think the check would have to be approved by Council.
I usually think you make solid rational arguments, but I beg to differ with you on this one. Severance pay or separation pay is quite common for a lay off or firing of an individual (and has happened before at Edmonds in the past). But, this woman quit, and giving out money in this case is highly unusual. And $84,000 for an employee that only worked at the City for one year? That is ridiculously high. And why wouldn’t a standing Council member out of courtesy at least inform the other councilmembers of what he is doing? And why would DJ the Councilmember vote down DJ the negotiator? Does DJ have a split personality perhaps?
Also, the hostile work place allegation is a bit far fetched, unless she wants to include her friend Michael Cooper. You would almost have to include your supervisor as the one who allows the environment to persist and given the past history between them how could she?
Don: First of all, thank you for your comment on my rational arguments. Coming from you, that’s a very flattering statement. While we may have disagreements, I have a great deal of respect for you and all you’ve done for the City over the decades. Since I don’t have any insider information, rational arguments are all I can offer.
If the allegations in the Herald and the Seattle Times are true, Ms. Cole may be entitled to significant compensation for the harm done. So this is not severance pay in the conventional sense. This is an agreement for her not to sue the city. I don’t know anything beyond what the media feeds us, but I really believe she could win a lot more than $84,000 if this goes to litigation. So the question of whether we think she deserves $84,000 is irrelevant. The questions are what would a court award and what’s the best thing for Edmonds.
DJ had at least two good reasons not to inform council: (1) Since this was an employment matter, everybody had to be very careful about who they talked to and what they said, and (2) by not informing Council, he kept it very clear that he was not representing the Council in this matter.
DJ the negotiator thought the agreement was legal at the time of negotiation because that’s what the City Attorney said. When the attorney changed his mind and said it was illegal, DJ the Councilmember voted to confirm that. I see no contradiction on DJ’s part. I think the legalities forced council to vote the way they did. That’s why it was unanimous.
I can’t really say anything about the hostile workplace allegation because we have almost no information about that. I wish we knew more.
Thanks for your civil and interesting comments.
With all due respect each and every time DJ is seriously critisized you leap in with a long winded defense. Often you dance around the criticisms with diversionary nonsense, in this case “2 good reasons” such as DJ was justified with his deceptive and secretive Council actions. His behavior is particularly disingenuous and revolting, not just to his fellow Council members, but to all Edmonds citizens. A pretty strong argument can be made that he has violated his oath of office.
Further, your style is also so remarkably similiar to DJ; its as if your responses are in reality DJ”s doubletalking responses. What is your relationship to him? Are you him? I understand “Joe” is not your real name. And so what would your first name be? Just who are you?
DJ had no business whatsoever entangling himself in employee disputes within the city, and then voting without proper disclosure of his secret involvements. That is inexcusable.
Ray — I appreciate that you have an opinion about DJ Wilson but you need to rein in your personal attacks on him and other commenters. I have let a lot of this go, but as we get closer to election day I ask that everyone try to be respectful of each other and the candidates.
I want to reiterate Ray’s comments about not knowing who Joe Morgan really is. If his name is Morgan he has not voted in the last several Edmonds elections. Until he comes clean, I suggest people on this site do what I do – stop reading anything that he writes.
To comment on My Edmonds News requires some checking by MEN as to your email and name. Teresa probably knows something about Joe Morgan. Joe is usually quite logical and offers reasoned views. I wish the same could be said for all who participate on MEN. When is Diane T when we need a thoughtful thinker???
I found a Joe Morgan in Edmonds using the internet search engines.
Even if he has not voted in the past I hope he votes this year.
To Ron Wambolt and Ray Martin,
I’d like to share a quote that I recently ran across:
“When you don’t have any facts you sling personal insults. Please tell me what I’ve said that’s known to factually incorrect.”
I think you both know who said that.
And Ray, I don’t know DJ. I met him once when we was doorbelling. Everything else I know about him comes from the media and watching him in City Council meetings.
I meant to say “when he was doorbelling.”
I’m sorry you feel I have insulted you by challenging your statements. And I have, contrary to your personal attack, very carefully pointed out specific examples. The last one being your position that DJ was correct to conceal info from the Council and citizens because of employee concerns. Your second “reason” was even more absurd about his not representing the Council, when he is part of it.
The true fact appears to be that the Council and citizenry did not know prior to the Times article that DJ was entangled in the city employee intriques, though there was suspicion that he was. He had no business being involved leave alone his complete failure to properly disclose same. He had a clear obligation to declare the facts and abstain from voting. He didn’t want it known he had been meddling and conniving so he offered a meaningless statement about a personal and political relationship with one of the involved ex-employees. This prompted a comment “Thats not much of a disclosure” from another Council person.
I believe this latest reckless DJ thing is simply another example indicating DJ does not understand ethical boundaries.
And my point with you is simply that you have appeared to me over a period of time to be a dedicated shill or true believer for DJ. I fail to see your cause to charge “insult” for that. And I still wonder what your first name is.
Everytime we use this venue to express ourselves, others may disagree and challenge us. That has happened to you and you take it as a personal insult. I’m sorry that you do.
Ray, you’re right to challenge my use of the word “insult”. I only used it because I thought it would be fun to throw that quote out there. I was trying to point out the irony, but maybe I failed. Your comments were not insulting to me.
I welcome the comments of all those who disagree with me. I’ve been wrong here many times, and the main reason I bother to post comments here is because intelligent thoughtful comments from others help me verify or correct my own facts and logic. Ray, you have shown well-articulated intelligence in many of your comments, and I respect you for that. I hope you’ll return to that kind of commenting.
But please reread your comment #29 above. You didn’t use any evidence, and you didn’t give us any insights into why you disagreed with my comments. You called DJ’s behavior revolting without even giving a rational reason why you think that. You used language to describe your feelings about him that would be too strong even if you supported those feelings with facts and logic. But you didn’t even do that.
I’m pretty confused about why you think I’m a “shill” for DJ. I’ve been harshly critical of him here on My Edmonds News on at least two occasions, and I’ve stated several times that I’m not going to vote for him next month. I don’t expect to be getting a thank you note from him.
I defended him in this case because I thought he was being unfairly attacked for what I thought was a noble and justified effort. Reasonable people can disagree with my conclusions, but I stand by what I said.
To you (and everyone else): please attack what I say with all the vigor you can muster. But if you attack who I am, or try to ascribe sinister motives to me. I’ll probably ignore you. I just don’t think it should matter. When people here attack each other, we learn nothing useful, and we lose the attention of the other readers. I hope you and I and everyone else can return to discussing the issues of Edmonds. I think that’s why we’re all here.
You once again ignore my question, Who are you?
I don’t understand why you have may or may not have apparently concealed your real name and/or aliases from the public, or why you have been allowed to do so, while the rest of us are up front about exactly who we are.
Its usually revealing to know a bit about people who are communicating publicly as much as you are; such as possible agendas, “sinister” or otherwise etc. I have a pretty good idea who you are but would like to hear it from you. If I am correct in on your identity then you have voted in Edmonds, but not very often.
Once again Ray is right on the mark with #37. Every other person communicating on this site is known by most of us. To have one person who nobody here knows doesn’t smell right and should not be tolerated.
Joe, you have said you will not be voting for DJ in the comming election on a few occasions. Are you going to vote for anyone in Edmonds in the comming elections and will you be voting on any of the levies in the coming elections?
Ray, I did not ignore your question. I devoted most of the last paragraph in comment #36 to this question. I know it’s not the answer you want, but that and what I’ve said in past comments is all you’re going to get.
Darrol, I plan to vote for Joan Bloom and the streets levy. I’m not going to vote for Al Rutledge, but I haven’t decided whether to vote for Frank Yamamoto (as if it matters how I vote.). With all due respect to Mr. Rutledge, I wish it was a more interesting contest. I haven’t made up my mind about the other races and propositions. I could say how I’m likely to vote in the rest, but I’m not going to. I really haven’t decided.
Oh, Ron W and Ray: when you look me up after the election to confirm I’ve voted, please look under the name “DJ Wilson” 🙂
Joe makes really good posts and we can all learn from his comments.
Thanks Darrol. You know it’s been said that we learn best from our own mistakes. I’ve made enough of them here that I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot from my own posts.
That’s your story and I guess you want to be stuck with it. I certainly didn’t recognize your last paragraph as a bonafide straight answer to my simple question.
How can you possibly expect to reasonably influence others while you conceal your self in this manner? Its not fair to your readers who expect more openess or transparency if you will. People should be informed as to where you are coming from. Your reaction to my request seems a bit fishy and should not be acceptable.
Joe, on your 41. Stay tuned and I will give you some insight on the other 2 levies as we get closer. The arguements for park/and building maintenance is just about the same as the roads. If you want to fix the things listed vote yes, if you don’t vote no. The mayors 2012 budget does not include money for either roads or the parks/buildings stuff so this is our only way to fund these items for the next 3 years. Last year the council added 400k to the mayors budget and we will have to wait and see what they propose to add or subtract this year. Just hope it is not some pet project stuff added like last year.
For the GF there are reasons to vote yes and there are reasons to vote no. Most have not talked about the logical reasons to vote either way on the GF levy.
Thanks as always Joe for your thoughtful reply.
Ray asks: “How can you possibly expect to reasonably influence others…”
I don’t expect to influence others, at least not in the way I think you mean. I would like to influence others to be civil, but I don’t think I’ve had any real success at that. I would like to influence others to tell me what they think, and I’ve achieved some success at that. My highest aspiration is to influence others to think about something in a novel way, regardless of whether that leads them to them agreeing with me. I think I’ve succeeded at that a time or two.
There are so many people here with apparent agendas that I can understand that you want to know what mine is. Let’s say there are two people:
Person A listens to what I say and because of it votes for DJ.
Person B decides that Joe Morgan is a smart guy and votes my choice: Joan Bloom.
I would feel proud to have influenced Person A’s vote and ashamed to have influenced Person B’s vote. That’s because I so strongly believe that we will only have a good government when everybody makes intelligent informed choices. I believe in that principle more strongly than I believe in any of the issues or candidates. That principle requires transparency in government, and that’s why I support transparency. And these principles also explain why I’m not on Joan Bloom’s endorsement list. Endorsements are just a shortcut to bypassing the thinking process.
I also believe in privacy for citizens. I see no conflict or contradiction in that.
I knew you were a smart guy, Ray. You just tricked me into revealing my agenda when I said I wasn’t going to talk about myself. I’m wise to you now, though, so don’t expect to trick me again.
Darrol, regarding #45,
I’ll take this a step further and tell you what I’m looking for on the parks levy. First of all, if my vote only influenced my taxes and those with the means to pay the increase without too much pain, my vote would be Yes. I love the parks in Edmonds. Unfortunately, a Yes vote will increase the taxes of a lot of people who are genuinely hurting.
So I want to know, what are the long term consequences of voting down the parks levy. In other words, what happens if we wait until the economy gets better? The whole thing is far too complicated for me to say what I’ll need to hear to vote yes, but that’s the kind of information I’ll be looking for.
And I should correct my earlier answer and say I’m voting no on the general fund levy. I don’t think there’s any real possibility that I will have enough trust in our government by November. Especially since we won’t know who will be governing the town until after the election. There’s some genuinely useless stuff that some of our elected officials have proposed spending money on.
Joe, I have some answers to how the Parks/Buildings $ will be spent but this is not the best topic for this thread. I will find a better place to lay out the details. The details will all be a part of the Oct 17 MEN forum on levies and I am assured by MEN that we will be able to post things then that relate to the levies. If you need information sooner just ask Teresa to give you my email. She has done that before.
I’m not as interested in how the money will be spent, though I’ll want to know that, too. I’m most interested in understanding the consequences of not spending it. I know it’s going to be difficult to get objective information about that, but we’ll just have to see what we can get.
No need to get any of this sooner than Oct 17. I’d rather wait for the broader picture. Thanks for the generous offer, though.
The unfortunate situation on the effects of a failed Parks levy will be tied to how the City Council formulates and passes the 2012 budget. Funding decisions and/or cuts will be determined in that budget cycle. Priorities need to be voiced by the citizens to assist the Council in their deliberations. If you like specific activities or programs of the Parks Department they need to be vocalized to the council.
Lets reword that sentence back into the intended context, and perhaps make it simpler and clearer while making it a bit more difficult to obfuscate around.
How can you reasonably AND FAIRLY influence others while continuing to conceal your own possible agendas and affiliations. And do you or do you not use other different first names or aliases for different purposes? For example, your privacy strategies appear to make it difficult to obtain public information such as your voting record and licensing info since the names appear to differ somewhat. What is your real and true name? And why is this form of anonymous opinions and perhaps propaganda permitted in this venue?
I truly don’t understand why you are so public in one way and so private in other ways. From what I believe to be yourself, you should be proud and stand tall for your accomplishments. And readers should know more about you.
Hopefully you will share withl us who you really are and who you represent so all can get a factual read on yourself. Please clarify so we all know who the apparent expert we are frequently reading and being influenced by on so many different city subjects truly is.
Ray, if I had any agenda or relevant affiliations I would feel obligated to reveal them. So I will tell you that I do not and never have worked for the city. I have never run for an elected position. I do not intend to ever run for an elected position. I do not have a personal or business relationship with anyone who works for the city, any elected official, or any candidate. If any of that ever changes, I will either stop commenting here, or I will announce the change.
I appreciate your flattery, but I’m not an “expert” on anything discussed here. I think I’m pretty good at using google to dig up facts, and most of the time I’m a logical thinker. But I don’t have any insider information or experience.
I try very hard to cite the sources for my facts. I also try to explain the logic of my thinking. In other words, I try to make it easy for others to verify my facts and find flaws in my logic. Sometimes I put pure opinion out there, and I try to be clear that it’s just my opinion. You should give it no more weight than any other opinion you hear. Please feel free to give it no weight whatsoever. I will take no offense.
I certainly have biases from my own life experience, just like everybody does. But other than the above, I just don’t want my life experiences drawn into these discussions. I already have to put up with nonsense here like being called “a tax and spend liberal”. Revealing more about myself would just trigger more nonsense.
I doubt that the above comments are going to satisfy you, but maybe they help a little. So can we please move on? This discussion is completely off-topic.
One last thing, since you and Ron W seem so interested in my voting record: I have not voted in every election. If that makes you think I’m lazy, irresponsible, unpatriotic, or anything else, I’m not going to argue with you about it. If that makes my comments unworthy of your attention, I have no problem with that either.
Before somebody else points this out, yes I am fully aware that I have not cited sources for the facts in the last two messages. Either you trust me on this or you don’t. OK by me either way.
I read what Joes says because it is usually thoughful, well reasoned, and added to a logical discussion of issues. Can’t say that about all who write on MEN.
I, obviously, don’t care who you are or even if you are a resident of Edmonds. I find the very notion that someone wants to look up the voting records of a poster offensive and invasive.
That said, your notion that you are logical is true. However, you frequently employ the “logical fallacy” approach to presenting what looks like a fact, but which is merely an opinion. Case in point, your statement on another thread:
Joe Morgan: “The article does not allege that Debi Humann did anything wrong or knew of any wrongdoing. Nor do I. But if she even knew that employee medical information was being passed around and did nothing to stop it, then going silent and hiring an attorney was a very smart thing to do.”
You leveled a rather nasty charge at Ms. Humann without a scintilla of fact. By using the “but” inference, you assigned her a reason for obtaining a lawyer. The “nor do I” negates everything you say in the posting.
Logic and intellectual honesty should go hand in hand. Stating one’s opinion as opinion is intellectually honest and there are many posters here who do not state their opinion as fact.
Ms. Humann has the absolute right to hire an attorney to protect her legal interests, for whatever reason she deems fit. She was summarily fired from a job she held for a long time. There is nothing nefarious about it. Ms. Humann is smart. There was no evidence presented to the public that she had done anything wrong save Cooper’s statement that he fired her because he couldn’t trust her. Your logically fallacious assumption served to discredit her, and for that alone you owe her a HUGE apology.
The facts of the incident will come out, but not here. Ms. Humann and Ms. Cole are not elected/appointed officials who put themselves out as public figures (Ms. Cole does, but in Lynnwood not in this case and not in Edmonds). They have a legal right to claim anything, and a duty to prove it before an impartial forum (the Courts or a mediator).
You further went on to state as fact that the City Attorney, Mr. Taraday, made a “big mistake”. You have no way of knowing that. You state it as a fact, and put up for question his professional abilities. He tried to show you that he cannot say a word about the incident, his Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit him from doing so. You owe him a rather large apology as well.
The value or lack of value involved in Ms. Cole’s claim may or may not exceed the $80 plus settlement offer that the City Council voided. You have not the facts (they changed and you got mad at the Seattle Times), nor the ability to judge either the merits of the claim nor the value. My opinion is that Mr. Wilson and Mr. Cooper as admitted friends of Ms. Cole were not the proper ones to negotiate any settlement on her behalf because they lack both the impartiality and expertise to do so. There is a claims process at the City which should be observed. My sole question is why this issue didn’t use that process.
I don’t post here much at all anymore. And don’t intend to. But the postings about this issue bother me greatly. Private citizens (as are Ms. Humman and Ms. Cole) should not be fodder for anyone. They are people who deserve to be respected in their privacy, and private lives. They are both caught up in this, and it has got to be painful enough for them both without seeing this kind of non-sense (using logic but not fact) here.
Respecting that both women have had their lives hugely disrupted deserves our respect. Questioning the actions of our elected/appointed officials is an entirely different matter (with a much different standard).
Mr. Morgan, I leave you with a pithy and apropos quote (a technique you enjoy)
“Less is More”
Now, back to my private life.
Diane, first of all let me say that I really miss your presence here. You were one of the voices of reason that drew me to this forum.
I can’t disagree much with your comments on what I said about Debi Humann. I could have made my point without mentioning her by name or inference, and I meant her no harm. I wish I could take that comment back. For what it’s worth, Ms. Humann, I do humbly apologize.
With regard to Mr Taraday, his reversal of advice on whether the contract was legal is an undisputed fact. Saying it was a big mistake was certainly an opinion, but I stand by it, and I really think any reader of my statement would see it as opinion. But it sure seems clear to me that harm was done. In the future, if the facts that come out show that there was a good reason for him to give incorrect advice when the contract was negotiated, I most certainly will apologize.
I do think I have legitimate reasons for commenting on what is obviously a complex legal matter with most of the facts hidden from public view. This incident is being used by Mayor Cooper’s political opponents to vilify him and influence the election. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt every bit as much as Ms. Humann and Ms. Cole do. Even more so, since the choice of Mayor is likely to have far more profound implications than any other aspect this case. I have not decided who I will vote for, but I will continue to do what I can to see that this election is not decided on the basis of gossip and innuendo.
You set a high standard for commenting here, and I really do appreciate your taking the time to do so.
I’d like to say something else about this case. I assume that one of the following is true:
1. The Mayor had a good reason to fire Ms. Humann.
2. The Mayor did not have a good reason to fire Ms. Humann.
If we assume 1 is true, we are judging Ms. Humann to be guilty. If we assume 2 is true, we are judging the Mayor to be guilty. The principle of “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t work here. If we assume one of the parties is innocent, we are assuming the other to be guilty.
All we can do is admit that we just don’t know and try to avoid allowing this case to influence any of our opinions or decisions. That’s a lot to expect of anyone. It’s a conundrum.
I checked out Mr. Morgan’s voting record only to determine if he is a resident of Edmonds. Some of us are not interested in debating people who live elsewhere about Edmonds issues. I don’t believe that Mr. Morgan has ever stated that he’s not using an alias.
In the quest for good logical thinking with a few facts tossed in for good measure I will listen and discuss issues with people exhibiting those skills. I can only hope that Diane T joins in more frequently. She always added interesting prospetive to the discussion. Most try to add to the discussion while some do not. I can choose to “debate” with whomever but I do choose to “discuss” with all who want make a positive contribution to the discussion.
Ron W. Your name is in dark blue and when one looks at the “properties” for you name it says …
What is that all about. What can I do to get my name in a brighter color?
I don’t have any answers to any of your #61 questions – it’s all a mystery to me too.
And I agree with you that it would be nice to have Diane T. back as a regular.
I think I figured it out. I check another name that was in dark blue and it was linked to their web site. So Ron W. Where is your web site and is it true that Joe Morgan is your web master??
I have never had a website!
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