In many respects the campaign for Mayor resembles a job interview for the position of Mayor. Voters (the employer) will select the candidate they conclude is best qualified to fill the job. Campaign promises aside, these are mature men best judged on past performance; they will continue performing as they have in the past. What does the record show? Here is my check list on factors critical to me.
- Ethics: The candidate must have a clear record of ethical conduct.
- Nelson failed to disclose several conflicts of interest when he was chosen to be Council Member, this though he graduated with a legal degree and must surely have known what the law requires.
- Tibbott has a clean record.
- Potential conflicts of interest: Voters must evaluate the likelihood of conflicts in the future, a judgement call at present.
- Nelson reports substantial financial support from entities in nearby big cities. It is naïve to think there will not be a pay-back time after the election, and the pay-back likely will be in the interests of those in the big cities rather than in the interests of Edmonds.
- Tibbott’s support comes mostly from people in Edmonds. His responsibility will be to the citizens of Edmonds.
- Communications, cooperation, openness with others: The office of Mayor requires a high level of demonstrated ability in these characteristics.
- With Council Members – Council Members have been critical of Nelson’s performance in public meetings. This is on record from public meetings.
- With City Staff – Staff employees have expressed guardedly that Nelson is domineering, does not give due consideration to their professional advice, and is difficult to work with.
- With the Edmonds public – much the same criticism from those on committees and organizations serving the city, as reported in news media.
- Regarding Tibbott – none of the above. He shows a fifteen-year record of working collaboratively with others. He reaches out to the community. He shows up at public forums and listens.
- Fiscal responsibility: We are giving substantial control of our check books to the Mayor for several years. The candidate had better have a good record of prudence and good judgement.
- Over the years, Tibbott has consistently been careful with taxpayers’ money, doing his utmost to balance limited resources against the many needs of citizens, and to ensure that outside contracts are properly managed. This is a matter of public record.
- Nelson brings a history of failing to submit legally required reports while Executive Director for the Service Employees Union, which resulted in saddling the Union with a fine of $250K which the members must pay. This is not the performance I expect, certainly not from one trained in law. This is not what I want for Edmonds – absolutely not!
- Nelson’s problems with failure to pay income taxes on time is another negative indicator from his personal affairs, a questionable failure from one who is familiar with law. To paraphrase his explanation that he was “short of money” does not convince me. Many of us who are short of money pay IRS on time anyway.
In closing, I urge those who supported Kristiana Johnson and Brad Shipley, two good candidates, now turn their support to Neil Tibbott as the superior candidate we have for Mayor.
Erling Hesla, P.E.