What’s next for City of Edmonds Hearing Examiner contract? City attorney will respond to council Tuesday

At the end of the Nov. 10 Edmonds City Council meeting, Councilmember Joan Bloom said the city council received an email from a citizen, noting that the contract between the City of Edmonds and current Hearing Examiner Phil Olbrechts expired at the end of 2014. Bloom then asked City Attorney Jeff Taraday if the contract expiration would affect decisions that Olbrechts made in 2015.

Taraday replied to Bloom that answering the question would require some research, and in an email to My Edmonds News Monday, the city attorney said he will have a response for the council during the Tuesday, Nov. 17, council meeting.

City of Edmonds Development Services Director Shane Hope said the city issued a Request for Qualifications/Proposals for the Hearing Examiner’s position last week, and that is now posted to the city’s website.

“The intent is to identify qualified candidates and follow the process laid out in the city code to execute a new four-year contract,” Hope said in an email. “This would include the Mayor appointing and the City Council confirming. We think that can happen by the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Hope said, Mayor Dave Earling has authority under the code to make a temporary hearing examiner appointment. “He has done so by requesting that the existing hearing examiner stay on at least through the end of the year while the long-term search wraps up,” she said.

  1. So under what authority does the Mayor have to make a temporary appointment? Just because the Development Services Director says so? How about a follow up question of asking Shane Hope or better yet the City Attorney to actually divulge what section of code allows the Mayors action? They cannot because the Mayor DOES NOT have the authority to appoint a hearing examiner without going through the Edmonds City RFP process. Section 10.35.010 created the office of the Hearing Examiner. Section 10.35.010B states “Temporary Appointment. The mayor shall appoint a temporary hearing examiner to serve whenever the hearing examiner informs the mayor that he or she cannot serve.” This does not allow for an interm appointment, and the Hearing Examiner cannot tell the Mayor they cannot serve because their contract expired in December 31, 2014 so therefor they are not currently the Examiner.

    This is simply a effort to avoid admitting that the Mayor did not do his job along with the Development Services Department not being on top of such a serious position. Along with not having a timely RFP process to receive competitive bids, the examiner had not given the required written yearly report in 2013 or 2014.

    And the question is also will the previous Examiner be prosecuted for impersonating and representing the themselves as the Examiner?

    RCW 42.20.030
    Intrusion into and refusal to surrender public office.
    Every person who shall falsely personate or represent any public officer, or who shall willfully intrude himself or herself into a public office to which he or she has not been duly elected or appointed, or who shall willfully exercise any of the functions or perform any of the duties of such officer, without having duly qualified therefor, as required by law, or who, having been an executive or administrative officer, shall willfully exercise any of the functions of his or her office after his or her right to do so has ceased, or wrongfully refuse to surrender the official seal or any books or papers appertaining to such office, upon the demand of his or her lawful successor, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

    [2012 c 117 § 114; 1909 c 249 § 84; RRS § 2336.]

    And what about the Mayor who was informed of the 2 years of missing reports and who still did not perform with diligence his responsibility or more appropriate what is called “willful neglect”

    RCW 42.20.100
    Failure of duty by public officer a misdemeanor.
    Whenever any duty is enjoined by law upon any public officer or other person holding any public trust or employment, their wilful neglect to perform such duty, except where otherwise specially provided for, shall be a misdemeanor.

    [1909 c 249 § 16; RRS § 2268. Prior: Code 1881 § 889; 1854 p 90 § 82.]

  2. How about we ratchet down the anxiety about this situation and simply get it fixed. Yes, a number of city government officials messed up but I don’t think we need to throw the RCW book at them. Rather, let’s assume they learned from this mistake, and move on.

    1. Yes, a number of officials messed up, and if it was an isolated event I would whole heartedly agree that we “simply” get it fixed. However, this is not an isolated event and when the City Administration persists with forcing the citizens to pursue their only recourse in court there is something wrong. The City was “surprised” by a $1.6 million dollar “adjustment” by the Fire District last year because the Mayor is not fulfilling his required duties under the Interloc agreement. Further the City Administration purposefully held hearings regarding the Old Woodway HS field project that this directly affects, with the potential of more lawsuits being filed by the Edmonds School District as well as others. There comes a point that if the Administration willfully will not address their mistakes, then yes the RCW statutes should be applied. Further what sense does it make to “appoint” the very person who did not understand their term had expired, did not do their required job of yearly reporting, and understand they were putting the City in a position where the liabilities are unknown. Further, I happen to have a hearing currently in progress that is directly affected by the Examiner not being authorized to hold the hearing. It happens to be going my way, however I have had to spend 4 months of my time and about 200 hours of research to fight the City to simply have them enforce their code.

  3. so Scott what do you do spend all day looking this stuff up, Im just kind of wondering, I figure if I “broke the law” i did something real bad. The way I see it if there is any question on whats “legal” the mayor has an attorney he can ask thats what he is paid to do.

    1. Michael, I would certainly rather not spend the time I have on this. However the City has been directly involved in the cause of about $100,000 to my property along with my disgust in the process they did with the Old Woodway HS field project. In both cases the City Attorney has been complicit with the irregularities and therefore is of questionable ethics. Remember this is the firm that did not have a valid LLC for several years, and did not pay his Seattle taxes. So forgive me for not “trusting” what he says is legal.

  4. Scott ok im not certain that questioning what the city or mayor does is going to help in what you are trying to do you know everybody reads this stuff . hey that wind storm was pretty scary lots of down trees

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.