On a 4-3 vote, council supports appointment of Sherman Pruitt as next Edmond police chief

Edmonds city councilmembers, mayor and staff discuss the police chief appointment Tuesday night.

By a 4-3 vote, the Edmonds City Council Tuesday night confirmed Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson’s appointment of Sauk-Suiattle Tribal Police Chief Sherman Pruitt as the next City of Edmonds Police Chief.

The council’s vote to appoint was labeled as conditional, because the city is awaiting a final written satisfactory report of Pruitt’s pyschological evaluation, which was pending Tuesday. Edmonds Human Resources Director Jessica Neill-Hoyson explained that the city did receive a verbal satisfactory report of the evaluation.

Nelson announced Dec. 3 he had selected Pruitt over Acting Police Chief Jim Lawless, who started in the Edmonds Police Department in 1995 and has served as an assistant chief since 2008. Lawless was appointed acting chief after Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan retired a year ago, and in April Nelson issued a news release stating that Lawless was his choice for permanent chief.

However, the city council insisted that Nelson follow the rules for executive-level city appointments and conduct a search process for three applicants. When three suitable applicants could not be found, the council agreed to consider two finalists: Pruitt and Lawless.

Tuesday night’s council vote came after emotionally-charged testimony from 20 people who showed up via the council’s Zoom meeting platform to talk about the selection process and the two finalists.

The vast majority of those speaking favored the appointment of Lawless rather than Pruitt, although City Attorrney Jeff Taraday pointed out later that a council vote against Pruitt would not ensure that Lawless would get the job as the selection process would likely just start over.

Those offering praise for Lawless cited his longstanding connections to Edmonds as well as his commitment to diversity within the police force. One long-time resident who moved to Edmonds 19 years ago with her wife, said the couple has been delighted by Lawless’ support of the LGBTQ community.

Many of those speaking were also critical of the council’s Monday night decision to revise the council agenda and move the vote a week earlier — to Tuesday night — and urged them to delay until next week. (Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas said that she and the mayor decided to move the vote up a week because both police chief candidates were “being trashed” on both social media and in the news media.)

The three councilmmbers on the losing end of Tuesday’s confirmation vote — Vivian Olson, Diane Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson — also stated they favored delaying the vote, pointing to last-minute questions and concerns from citizens about Pruitt’s qualifications for the job.

But perhaps the most blistering comment came from former Police Chief Compaan, who worked in Edmonds for 41 years — including 12 years as chief — before retiring.

“I really don’t have any way to describe it, other than sleazy. And I don’t use that word lightly,” Compaan said. “If council moves forward with this tonight — with the number of unanswered questions that remain — shame on this council, shame on the mayor,” Compaan said.

Several commenters also specifically called out Council President Fraley-Monillas for remarks she made in an interview on KING-TV Monday, during which she said Pruitt would be a good pick given “all the racism in Edmonds.”

Fraley-Monillas later in the meeting defended herself, stating that she was interviewed for 10 minutes by the television station, but “two lines out of the 10 minutes that I said made it to the media. By no way did I saw that Edmonds citizens are discriminatory or were racist,” she said, adding that she was alluding instead to incidents of racism that Edmonds has experienced over the years.

Sherman Pruitt

Those commenters speaking in favor of Pruitt said the change in police department leadership would be good for the city — and specifically for families of color. Karin Butler said that racism exists in Edmonds, noting that her husband has been pulled over by police many times as a Black man. Seeing a police chief who is a person of color would be a good role model for her sons, Butler said, adding: “This family of color will feel more safe walking the streets of Edmonds if that (Pruitt’s appointment) happens.”

Following public comments, City Human Resources Director Jessica Neill Hoyson explained the process for conducting a background check on Pruitt, which was done by a third-party contractor. The work was based on requirements under state law, and included personal and employment history, education, law enforcement and military experience, arrests and convictions, and a financial background check. In addition, his personnel files were reviewed and he passed a polygraph test.

Councilmember Vivian Olson questioned whether the background check on Pruitt was as thorough as it needed to be, which elicited a sharp reply from Nelson. “I’m not going to have this be questioning the abiilities of my human resources director,” he said.

Olson also asked Neill Hoyson whether Pruitt had “any domestic violence instances” in his background. (A KOMO-TV report Tuesday night on Pruitt’s nomination had brought up that issue, citing testimony in a lawsuit involving Pruitt and the City of Arlington.) At first, Neill Hoyson said she didn’t think it was appropriate to discuss that matter in a public forum, but when Fraley-Monillas then asked her if Pruitt had been convicted of domestic violence, Neill Hoyson replied that the background check revealed no criminal convictions.

During the discussion about the candidates, Councilmember Luke Distelhorst asked Neill-Hoyson if Pruitt understood the challenges he may face coming to work in Edmonds, given the passionate support many in the community have expressed for Lawless.

She replied that she has spoken with Pruitt about the issue and he does understand the situation, adding he stated he would have been surprised if Edmonds residents’ hadn’t been supportive of Lawless.

Later in the discussion, Distelhorst said he hoped the community would come together to support the new chief, adding it would be “in the best interests of our residents and our city.”

Distelhorst also said he “looked forward to a brighter future ahead for all of our city’s residents. It’s important to remember that safety is defined very differently by how people experience their community. What some people consider (to be) safe, others may not,” he added.

Under the terms of his appointment, Pruitt’s employment will begin Dec. 28, 2o20. He will be paid an annual salary of $156,417, plus benefits.

A former U.S. Marine who served tours in Somalia and Iraq, Pruitt spent eight more years in the National Guard. He started his police career on the Tulalip Tribal force, where he served as a patrol officer, detective and SWAT team sergeant, and was assigned to command of the patrol, corrections, SWAT and investigations units. Pruitt has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and is a graduate of both the Chief of Police Command Executive Academy and the Criminal Justice Executive Leadership Management Training.

 

85 Replies to “On a 4-3 vote, council supports appointment of Sherman Pruitt as next Edmond police chief”

  1. The mayor and 4 of the council members have completely blown off the citizens of Edmonds. The vast majority of commenters asked for more time to discuss this important appointment. Why the rush? One council member wanted to go into executive session but was shot down. Why? What did the other members not want to be faced with in private? There’s something shady going on in Edmonds. Indeed, if our respected former Chief Al Compaan calls the goings on “sleazy” we’d better sit up and take notice.

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  2. Here is the link to the news story put out by KOMO.

    https://komonews.com/news/local/controversy-brews-as-edmonds-mulls-next-police-chief

    I suspected the move to December 8 was in anticipation of something coming out, and now we know what that is. Mayor, Council President, and those who voted for the appointment – was this vetted, or was it a surprise to you as well? Did you have this information prior to making your vote? Now we know what was “Rotten in the State of Denmark”.

    I am going to assume the answer is yes to all of these questions, and that begs further investigation into the process behind moving the meeting, not being transparent, and not being open to the people who voted you in.

    Welcome to the force Police Chief Pruitt. Trust is earned, and I look forward to giving you the trust and support that you deserve.

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  3. The behavior of the Mayor and the four council members is deplorable. It is also quite unfair to new Chief Pruitt, who will be starting his new job under a cloud not of his own making, and to Chief Lawless.

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  4. I hope the voters in Edmonds will remember at the next election cycle that councilwoman Monillas went on a major local TV news cast ad painted the citizens of our city as “rampantly racist”. A statement that has zero basis in reality and could be damaging to peoples perception of Edmonds going forward.

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    1. I was on the zoom call last night (My first watched city council ever). I listened and watched this process unfold and I have the following observations:
      1. The three council members that voted “NO” seemed blindsided by the situation. (Thus the request to give them a week to review – these council members were forced to chose “No” not because they didn’t approve of the candidate but because they were purposefully left out of the loop)
      2. The four city council members that voted “YES” had hardly any comments or questions in regards to the process. They knew they had the vote in their favor. The less they say the less items to hold them accountable to. Two of the council members spent their time on video eating food or drinking a never ending supply of some sort of liquid from the same cup over and over again.
      3. The city attorney and human resource representatives faired well in their role & function (thank goodness).
      4. (This is probably my most important observation) – if you work for the city of Edmonds in any department don’t think for one minute your job is safe. The council just got rid of a 25 year officer with their force. This decision is a clear proclamation to all city employees that your job is now about getting paid. It has nothing to do with loyalty, skill, respect, etc. Your are only a tool to this administration. So if you want to find work were you are appreciated for who you are and what you bring to the table I would recommend you start the job search now.

      I don’t know the new chief and I don’t care who is chosen. How you treat your employees tells all. Shame!

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  5. Mayor Mike Nelson and Council president Adrienne Frayley-Monillas rushing this appointment because “both sides are being trashed in the media” makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. We are critical of the last minute, unexplained, change in the process, not the candidates. Reporting by the media is not “trashing someone.” It looks shady. I will remember this when we vote next on the city council. I will also be calling Mayor Mike Nelson today. If anyone wants to join me the phone number is 425-771-0248.

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    1. Both sides were not trashed in the media at all. Nelson and Adriene’s process was trashed. It looks like there was information that they were not sharing with the rest of council and then refused an executive session to review it. the bottom line is from the information in council and in comments here is that they chose a candidate with no experience in a municipal police department who had been let go from a police department and who has a history of domestic violence and his wife having a restraining order against him in the past. We are not trashing the candidates but trashing how the mayor can pick someone with these qualifications and thinks is the best for the city.

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  6. Remember these names and the suspicious cloud over this decision when it is time to replace them. Nelson, Monillas, Distelhorst, Paine, and Laura Johnson.

    Remember, also, the names that asked questions, working on the citizens behalf, and having doubt about rushing this through. Olson, Buckschnis, and Kristiana Johnson deserve our support.

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  7. I have been watching this for awhile. A great many of us citizens do not trust the mayor and his agenda. We have been telling as many people as possible something is not right. With the lock down so many things can happen behind the scenes in the basement. We won’t know until it’s over. It’s all about lockdowns and lack of filling the council meetings with its citizens.

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  8. The biggest disappointment in all of this is that, for the first time that I can remember, we do not have a mayor and city council that advocates for the citizens of Edmonds. We have no representation. Representation by only three council members is inadequate. Nelson, Distelhorst, Paine, and Laura Johnson need to be gone after their one term. Fraley-Monillas needs to be gone at the end of 2021 when her term is up.

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  9. The leadership in this city is disgraceful. I was stunned at the lack of professionalism. The manner in which last night’s council meeting police chief nomination was brought to the floor gives new meaning to the word “railroad”. Council President Fraley -Monillas stated “we need a change” in a chief. She obviously forgot who “we” are! “We” didn’t want a change. It is clear that the tremendous support for Acting Police Chief Lawless by citizens was disregarded by the Council with the exception of Councilmembers Olson, Johnson and Buckshnis. My thanks to them for listening to so many of us. I am saddened and angry by last night’s vote. In my opinion we have a wimp for a mayor and a bully for Council President. She is rude and disrespectful and does not deserve to represent our city.

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  10. I don’t always agree with your position on issues Ron but this time I wholeheartedly agree with you here. My vote will also reflect my position when the above mentioned Council members and Mayor Nelson are up for reelection. They will not be getting my vote.

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  11. Last nights Edmonds City Council was clearly a “poop” show moderated by the Mayor. Next election local citizens are going to have to decide if that what they like watching.

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  12. Good comments all. Respectful and to the point. There is an adage that states ‘ we get the government we deserve”, and I trust when the next election cycle comes around the Edmonds voters will remember it and vote accordingly.

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  13. I’m really disappointed by the response to Pruitt’s nomination and last night’s conditional confirmation. This second phase of the search process has been going on for months. Yes, I wish there was more transparency from those in public office who support Pruitt, especially the Mayor. But the way Pruitt has been trashed on social media, in op-eds on this site, and in comments on this site, it’s so bad. The tone and substance of many of the arguments are just reinforcing what the council president said in that KING-5 interview, that Edmonds does have a problem with racism. And it reinforces what I’ve been hearing from Black residents of Edmonds for months.

    We need to do better.

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    1. I want to reiterate that given this process and the failure to be transparent led to the citizens having to do their legwork and ask the questions.

      I was opposed because of the process, I could not make an educated decision one way or another, the process took place, we have a new Chief of Police, and I will respect the decision of Council and give the Chief of Police the respect he deserves.

      Anyone who puts themselves up for a position like Chief of Police, in any town, has broad enough shoulders and should have enough patience to deal with some questions. Hell, if they do not, they probably should not be a police officer (just imagine the abuse that they receive on a daily basis in their chosen line of work – it is commendable. I certainly am not up to that challenge!)

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    2. I am saddened and disappointed, to find out I live so close to such a racist city.(as described by the council president) I live just across hwy 99, but have always liked to go to edmonds to eat (red twig) shop (ace hardware…as apposed to the big box hardware stores) continue my masters license at compass courses. I am originally from the Arlington darlington area and have been told Mr Pruitt is a fine man. But if racism is so wide spread that you now hire based on skin color not content of prior service, I simply will have to exclude edmonds from my patronage. It did take a little longer to go down the hill. So hopefully this choice we begin to right these wrongs (which I never saw) but until then I won’t support such a racist town. #BOYCOTT EDMONDS

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  14. Well that was something. Personally, my only recourse is to shop elsewhere. Lynnwood comes to mind. This Council ( minus three) is more interested in making statements than governance. Last night was proof of that. The damage done to our police force by letting Chief Lawless do his job during a once in a lifetime crisis, and then giving his position to someone not from the department and clearly not as qualified sends a message to all our officers about how they can expect to be treated for years of stellar service. The Financial directorship was apparently easy to elevate Mr Turley after Mayor Nelson canned his boss and used an NDA so details cannot be known.
    I am embarrassed by the City and for the City. Ms. Monillas has disparaged the electorate. Chief Pruitt has been put in a terrible position. This Mayor had a clear agenda, one which is at odds with the majority of the electorate. So for now, I am only doing business outside the city and those tax dollars which I can control can fund Lynnwood. I cannot, truthfully, even get to the shops downtown these days due to no parking and no social distancing between pedestrians on the sidewalks and the diners.
    I simply do not have the energy to deal with any of this clown show any longer. The City of Edmonds does not follow its own codes. And gets away with it year after year.

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    1. Diane T, do not take your frustration on a lousy Mayor and council president on the merchants of Edmonds. There is lots of parking and most people maintain social distance. I am a local merchant and see what is going on every day.

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      1. For heavens sake, why would anyone blame the merchants? They are just trying to survive right now and deserve a little respect please. Turns out the mayor is a Democratic party political hack. Suspect the C.P is too, but that doesn’t mean we should abandon our city. I consider myself a Democrat and these two people bring me shame as such, but l’ll take it out on them not the innocents, thank you very much.

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    2. I’m a Edmonds business supporter whenever possible and I encourage you to continue to support the businesses and restaurants in Edmonds. The downtown shoppers have been masked and because we are a small downtown area it is easy to make sure you social distance. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. The bathwater needs to be changed as soon as possible (mayor and 4 council members).

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      1. It is my choice, and I choose to spend my money ( and tax dollars) where I can feel good about the community I am spending it in. Lynnwood and Shoreline. My next car will not be purchased in Edmonds. It is all I can do, and that is old school and as American as apple pie.

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  15. What a marked contrast: the spirit of the community, the citizen’s affirmation, and the effective engagement of the city council under our two previous mayors, Gary Haakenson and Dave Earling. Credibility, transparency, and trust are essential in governance. The contrast with Mike Nelson’s tenure could hardly be greater. Erosion of the community’s trust calls for change.

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  16. A very sad day for Edmonds. Blatant use of political power by Nelson and Frailly-Monillas to promote their “woke” agenda for Edmonds. Nelson’s failure to explain his switch from Chief Lawless to Mr. Pruitt should not be tolerated. The unquestioning acceptance of this action by the four Council Members who voted for confirmation should never be forgotten by Edmonds voters.
    Council President Monillas as much as admitted her support of Pruitt was to address the “racist problems” in Edmonds. (A dubious assertion at best). Hiring decisions based on race are prohibited in Washington. What other conclusion can we draw for selecting a person with much less experience, training and knowledge of EPD than Chief Lawless? Hiring Pruitt due to his race diminishes him.

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  17. The virus has made things depressing for all of us. Now in less than one year we’ve gone from a competent bunch of elected officials to rock bottom. Our new mayor, three new council members and one carryover, are greatly exacerbating these depressing times. Hopefully, at least, we’ll soon be able to attend council meetings so that we can tell them face-to-face what we think about their lousy performance.

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  18. A lot of emotion here and I can see two reasons why this is happening.

    First, Mayor Mike Nelson made a terrible mistake when he publicly announced he has making an affirmative action appointment in replacing a more experienced incumbent. This is disrespectful to the new police chief and sows discord with the local electorate. Not ok.

    Second, at least two city council members are poisoning the debate by using the “race” topic in discussions with local media outlets. This is disrespectful to the citizens of Edmonds and sows distrust with the office of police chief and his staff. Not ok.

    Looking beyond these errors in judgment I hope that both Pruitt and/or Lawless can find a way forward in protecting our beloved Edmonds despite its increasingly incompetent leadership.

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  19. Anybody that was paying attention leading up to election should not be surprised as to what a train wreck Nelson has been. It was completely obvious he was 1) completely unqualified 2) hellbent on emulating any and all disastrous policies emanating from Seattle. Recall discussions need to begin now before Edmonds becomes a tent lined dump which is Nelson’s endgame after all. Absolutely embarrassed to be a resident at this point.

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  20. Well done, social “justice” warriors! Oops, I mean city council and mayor! My conclusion on not moving forward with Lawless was a cloaked “defund the police move“. There’s no way that would fly in Edmonds, so you do this instead to lower the morale in the department. Yes, you did make Edmonds less safe as the tenured police will now be looking elsewhere.

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  21. The decision to appoint Mr. Pruitt as Chief of Police instead of Chief Lawless is almost unbelievable; it’s incredibly disrespectful to Chief Lawless, Mr. Pruitt, and the citizens of Edmonds. I can only imagine how the Chief must feel, not to mention the men and women of our police force. It’s clear Mr. Pruitt lacks the experience to become our chief at this point in his career, and to have the council and mayor admit he’s being hired because of his race is embarrassing for everyone.

    The council members are a disappointment, to say the least (except for the three who were brave/smart enough to stand up to Fraley-Monillas and Nelson). I enthusiastically supported Susan Paine, both verbally and financially, in the last election. I won’t do that again. And I owe Neil Tibbott an apology, if I could go back, you would have my vote for mayor. Fraley-Monillas just needs to go.

    Chief Lawless, I’m sorry to have helped elect those who had the power to make this blatantly wrong decision. I appreciate your years of service to our community, as well as the strength and leadership you’ve shown, and continue to show. Thank you.

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  22. It truly is unfortunate that a thorough process was not followed and that will soon reflect even more poorly on HR, the Mayor, council president and on the four council members who voted to confirm Mr. Pruitt. The charges revealed under testimony would not qualify him to be chief – and to not be promoted in nine years in the military, while not a disqualifier, do not reflect well to conduct. The mayor had his chance to reveal what the police panel recommendations were, but chose not to.

    At this point, the Mayor, HR and four councilmembers brought undue angst to this city, failed to listen to an advising panel, lost the trust of many in the community, and failed to follow an objective process which did not aid either of the individuals under review for Chief.

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  23. I take this in a different way. The lesson is don’t give an opinion & « endorsement » to one candidate until the decision is made & finalized. The distaste I have in my mouth is from the way Lawless was strung along until he wasn’t. Perhaps the Mayor was more transparent with the Acting Chief than he was with his constituents. Now that we have Pruitt & it is final, I will give my support to him as we all should.

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    1. Not sure how well known it is that when Jim Lawless was selected to be our next chief he chose to remove himself out of the running to be the Marysville chief, and that is also a higher paying position than the Edmonds position. Too bad our city council also chose not to do the right thing. I certainly would never want to have any business dealings with Mike Nelson, or those four council members.

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      1. Ron, you are correct. They screwed around with a good man’s career needlessly with minds made up, absolutely no questions or remorse. Nelson, Monillas, Distelhorst, Laura Johnson and Paine all must go.

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        1. Agreed, Mike. Whenever they show their faces in town (because none of them respond to ANY form of contact) they need to be publicly and vocally shamed. Make it CLEAR and LOUD.

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  24. WOW! All of the responses here are eye opening. It is good to know that the people of Edmonds understand the lay of the land. At least everyone who wrote in. I agree with the sentiments written here. My memory will not fail me with upcoming elections. This is a sad time for Edmonds.
    David Thorpe

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  25. Mayor Mike and City Councilwoman Monillas should be both ashamed of themselves and recalled for their egregious breach of public trust.
    They are behaving like the childish, ideological “woke” Seattle Cathy Council which is destroying a vibrant city before our very eyes.
    This whole rushed and unfair process smacks of back room dealing and pandering to a small, but vocal set of activists.
    For councilwoman Monillas to describe the city that elected her as “racist” is beyond the pale.
    A pox on both of you two and the other two that voted with you.
    I will be working hard for and raising money for anyone that runs against you two bozos.

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  26. One reason that Conditional Confirmation is not a legal option is that our Code makes it clear that there are 2 possible options:
    1. A Vacant Appointive Office.
    2. Previously Confirmed Permanent Appointment.
    There is no 3rd option for a Pending Status subject to a Condition.

    Why would a Mayor EVER make an Appointment that was not yet ready for unconditional Confirmation?

    To illustrate how important this is, please consider the following: Can City Council still revise the specifications for the Police Chief position, revisions that will have immediate effect? That question cannot be answered as our Code does not address what City Council’s powers are during the time Confirmation is in a Pending Status subject to a Condition.
    “Specifications” means the functions, powers, duties, compensation, and working conditions of the city’s appointive officers. [Ord. 3959 § 1 (Att. A), 2014].

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  27. This is the second time Mayor Nelson has made an Appointment for this position that was not yet ready for unconditional Confirmation. His first Appointment was announced April 9th. The 2020 City Council had no legal ability to confirm the April 9th Appointment as the Appointment itself violated the Code.

    The February 18, 2020 City Council Agenda Packet discloses that Mayor Nelson and his staff KNEW it was mandatory that Council interview candidates (plural) prior to the Mayor’s Appointment:
    Meeting Date: 02/18/2020
    Police Chief Recruitment Process
    Staff Lead: Jessica Neill Hoyson
    Department: Human Resources
    Preparer: Jessica Neill Neill Hoyson
    Background/History
    The Police Chief position has been vacant since December 31, 2020. The Mayor will be using a competitive process in order to determine his selection for appointment to the position of Police Chief. Per ECC 2.10.010 (D) The Mayor shall appoint, subject to council confirmation, the appointive officers.
    Staff Recommendation
    Human Resources has recommended that when performing a Director level recruitment, particularly a Police Chief recruitment, retaining a professional recruiting firm that specializes in executive Police positions is a best practice in order to produce high-quality candidates.
    Narrative
    Public Sector Search & Consulting, Inc. has been retained and will provide a high-level overview of the anticipated recruiting process, which includes Council interviews of top 3 candidates and confirmation of appointment, for the position of Police Chief.

    I do not know how much taxpayer money has been paid to Public Sector Search & Consulting, Inc. I do not know if Public Sector Search & Consulting, Inc. played a role in finding the 22 applicants that the Mayor recently narrowed down to 2.

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    1. They do boast on their website a 60% diversity placement rate. Does Public Sector Research specialize in that? It appears so according to the main page of their website. Was that mayor Nelson’s main focus when he appointed his citizen’s panel to hire a police chief?
      https://publicsectorsearch.com/

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      1. I attended the February 18, 2020 City Council Meeting during which Public Sector Search & Consulting, Inc. made their presentation. (I made audience comments that same night asking how it was possible that, for the second consecutive time, the Hearing Examiner’s term and contract had expired without putting the position out to competitive bid.)

        Despite attending that night, I don’t recall a lot of details about their presentation. One can read the related Meeting Minutes or watch the video of that night’s Council Meeting to get more information.

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  28. Further complicating this matter is the fact that the Mayor and his staff overlooked the expiration of the Acting Directorship on June 30th. The Acting Police Chief Directorship expired June 30th and was vacant for weeks.

    The Mayor could have only requested an extension of that Acting Directorship on July 1st to allow the recruiting process to continue. The Mayor, however, just disclosed that the job was not posted until August.

    One reason I have been so interested in this matter is because of the unknown status of the City’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). The former Police Chief played a significant role in the last update of that plan which was passed by the City Council on April 18, 2017 via Resolution No. 1386.

    Resolution No. 1386 clearly states that “Washington State law requires the CEMP to be reviewed and updated at least once every two calendar years”. That has not happened.

    Despite what Resolution No. 1386 states, the September 15, 2020 City Council Agenda Packet represents the CEMP is due to be updated this year.

    Either way, what is the status of the required review and update to the CEMP? I have requested City Officials to please advise as to the status of the CEMP and ECC Chapter 6.60. No information has been provided. I have reviewed the City Council’s extended agenda and have been unable to find any mention of the CEMP on the extended agenda.

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      1. Thanks, but Public Record Requests can only be done for records/documents that already exist. Asking City Officials to advise as to the status of the CEMP and ECC Chapter 6.60 is not something that can be obtained via a Public Record Request.

        Back on September 16th, My Edmonds News reported the following:

        – Agreed to postpone a study item originally on the council agenda — a review of a code update for the city’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson said the item wasn’t yet ready for council discussion.

        I don’t know where this process stands at this time even though the September 15th City Council Agenda Packet represents that the CEMP is due to be updated this year.

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  29. It is sad that Distelhorst keeps saying that he wants to create a safe community where everyone feels safe and then approves an appointment of a candidate with a documented history of violence to women. How does that make the community feel safer?

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    1. Any proof of this allegation? If so bring it forward. You say it is documented, then show the documents. Character smears are a serious matter. If there is documention then it needs to be brought forward. Chief Pruitt deserves at least that. And if there is no proof, your comment should never have been published in the first place.

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      1. Diane. There are police reports. I also understand there was a restraining order. These was something according to the background check that was shared in an executive session of the City Council meeting too. There is proof, but perhaps not the proper context available to the public.

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        1. There is a difference between allegations and facts. If the City Council had any hard evidence ( convictions, disposition of any charges ect) and ignored it shame on them. But slandering someone’s character without more than allegations particularly relating it to his job is about as unfair as it gets. The condition of the confirmation was a psych evaluation. So, I stand by my earlier post. Domestic violence is a serious crime. And unless there is a conviction or legal action pending, whispering about it is just wrong and so unfair to Chief Pruitt. I don’t think he is as qualified as Chief Lawless and I think the process stinks. But this stuff as far as I am concerned is beyond the pail. It should never have been published in the first place, since there appears to be nothing in his record besides allegations. The Council and Mayor have already placed him in an impossible situation and made it much harder for him to succeed.

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        2. This is in response to Diane T’s response to Matt:

          There isn’t whispering going on, Mr. Pruitt admitted in the lawsuit that his former wife had taken a restraining order out against him. And the dismissed lawsuit against the Arlington PD is a matter of public record.

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        3. Restraining orders for domestic violence are not easy to get and require court hearings. Washington law defines “domestic violence” as:
          Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, including sexual assault, stalking, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault

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      2. Diane, this is from a report done by KOMO news:

        – “But after looking deeper into Pruitt’s back ground, we learned he sued the Arlington Police Department several years ago, alleging officers unfairly arrested his wife for making harassing phone calls. That case was dismissed by a judge.

        – In that same court document, Pruitt admitted his first wife obtained a restraining order against him when he served in the military more than a decade ago. The circumstances around that case are unclear.”

        I’ve attempted to find out more information and haven’t been able to find anything. If his former wife felt so afraid of him that she needed to request a restraining order, and she was credible enough for a judge to grant her one, it seems like a red flag that needs to be investigated with the findings shared with this community. To pass it over as if it’s nothing to be concerned about is disturbing at best. I find his current wife’s alleged threatening phone call(s) to another women something that should be looked into as well (with the findings shared).

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        1. And if he violated a restraining order, then that would be relevant. A restraining order is granted easily, and is up to the judge. But if there is any showing that he violated that order, then yes. Otherwise it is just not relevant at all. Not to mention it was a long while ago.

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        2. In reply to Diane T below:

          Just so I’m clear:

          A restraining order taken out against a man is irrelevant, and that it was years ago makes it even more irrelevant.

          A restraining order is easy to get so we should ignore the woman who felt she needed one.

          The only relevant reason to look into the fact that a restraining order was taken out against a man who might very well be taking over the highest office in our police department is if he’d violated that order, and if it was within “X” time frame (you’ll have to fill in the “X” portion).

          I have no idea what the circumstances are surrounding the restraining order or the situation with his current wife, which is the problem. It doesn’t seem unreasonable (to me) to ask for, and be given answers to the obvious questions these situations raise. Guess we’ll have to respectfully agree to disagree.

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  30. Mr. Reidy, thank you for the information. In answer to your question-“why would a mayor do this” I have no idea. Perhaps greater minds can answer this question. The carnage and damage left behind to the process, candidates, and divisiveness created in the community really bothers me. A suspicious cloud remains over the very important Chief of the Edmonds Police Department.

    This behavior is no different than what we have witnessed nationally and regionally by those in political power. It’s just here now in Edmonds. We are simply exhausted with the negativity. Why can’t someone just do the right thing for a change instead of adhering to some agenda.

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  31. I hear you Mr. Murdock. I have long desired improved City government. I am a very active citizen and elected officials can confirm that I send in a significant number of emails. I have also submitted public comments for almost every City Council Meeting this year.
    The last email response I received from an Edmonds Mayor was in March of 2012. I’ve had better results with a few councilmembers over the years.
    I try to stay active in the hope that citizen involvement can make a difference.
    It is very tough to be an elected official. I hope it is beneficial for citizens to provide input.

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  32. The following may also be of interest to those interested in the Police Chief Process we have experienced this year. It was adopted by City Council on June 2, 2015:
    CODE OF ETHICS
    The purpose of the Edmonds Code of Ethics is to strengthen the quality
    of government through ethical principles which shall govern the conduct
    of elected officials and appointed citizen volunteers serving in an official
    capacity (i.e. Boards and Commissions).
    We shall:
    • Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic government.
    • Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and
    maintain a sense of social responsibility.
    • Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and
    personal relationships.
    • Recognize that the chief function of local government at all times is to serve
    the best interest of all the people.
    • Keep the community informed on municipal affairs and encourage
    communications between the citizens and all municipal officers. Emphasize
    friendly and courteous service to the public and each other; seek to improve
    the quality of public service, and confidence of citizens.
    • Seek no favor; do not personally benefit or profit by confidential information
    or by misuse of public resources.
    • Conduct business of the city in a manner which is not only fair in fact, but
    also in appearance.

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  33. Jim Lawless is the best man for the job. The fact that our mayor blatantly disregards what’s best for our city and citizens makes it clear he is not fit to be mayor of Edmonds. Those in our city council who chose to confirm his selection also are not fit to serve, as they do not listen to their constituents.

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    1. Distelhorst, Laura Johnson and Paine are acting like they’ve been appointed by Mayor Nelson or Council President Fraley-Monillas and must do whatever those two want them to do. They certainly do not act like they need to do what the majority of voters want them to do. They’ll find out at election time who their real bosses are.

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      1. Right on Mr. Wambolt. And, I owe you a very humble public apology for questioning your premise that the Democratic Party – my chosen party – was messing around in Edmonds’ City politics. You were obviously right and I was obviously wrong on that score. Please forgive me my earlier remarks my friend. I do totally like and respect you for a lot of reasons beyond what we talk about here.

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        1. Clinton:
          No apology necessary; we all sometimes make mistakes, but thank you anyway. Since I started closely watching city council proceedings in 2003 there has always been Democratic Party members on the council, but that did not affect how they dealt with city matters. That changed in 2010 when Adrienne Fraley- Monillas became a council member. She not only followed the party’s preachings, she recruited other members that would do the same as well as being loyal to her. This year she hit the jackpot by gaining three “disciples” – Paine, Distelhorst, and Laura Johnson.

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  34. A statement by the Mayor will certainly provide clarity and perhaps work to restore confidence and support in his selection of (and the four councilmembers who confirmed) Mr. Pruitt. If the problem they are solving is to identify who is the best fit and best qualified to lead our city police force in a time when there is apparently rising racial tension – we need to know what the objective evaluation process was that helped them come to their conclusion, as the experience and qualifications between Mr. Pruitt and Acting Chief Lawless are quite different.

    The Mayor, HR and the four councilmembers can also provide clarity on a troubling transcript that they are in possession of and is now circulating that involves Mr. Pruitt’s involvement as a suspect in two different investigations involving two different women that led to a court order.

    Based on the careful wording from the HR Director and Council President at the Tuesday council, it is clear that these incidents didn’t technically disqualify Mr. Pruitt from consideration but they certainly implicate his character.

    I’ll wrap up by simply asking how can the Mayor, who recently proclaimed himself to be a champion for Domestic Violence victims in the wake of the tragic shooting at the Boo Han Market, justify selecting a candidate for Police Chief who has twice been the subject of Domestic Violence investigations?

    Help clear this up.

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    1. I echo Mike’s reasonable request for clarity from Mayor Nelson about his pick for Chief of Police based on the new information that has been discovered.

      While the Mayor can hire his staff, he is an elected official and as such, he is working on behalf of the residents of Edmonds. So, we have a vested interest in how he conducts the affairs of the city including who he hires. He is not running a private company, but a city with a representative government.

      At last night’s special Council meeting which was scheduled at Tuesday’s Council meeting to continue discussing the city budget, I made public comments regarding the rush to vote taken at Tuesday’s meeting for the Chief of Police position and encouraged the Council to make the motion of “move to reconsider” the 4-3 vote.

      This could have happened if one of the four who voted in favor to accept the Mayor’s nominee made the motion (and it was seconded). This would have given Council more time to examine the legal documents that they received shortly before Tuesday’s meeting. Unfortunately none of them had the courage or fortitude to do that. Disappointing.

      I’ll end these comments with what I said at Council last night: I strongly encourage you (Council) to go back and do your due diligence based on the recent information (you’ve received) about Mr. Pruitt that speaks to his character and temperament and get ahead of this before the media exposes it. Edmonds deserves a transparent process.

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    1. The Code of Ethics adoption is documented in the June 2, 2015 City Council Meeting Minutes. Shortly before it was adopted, an opinion to “start small” was expressed. Council did not establish any enforcement procedures or ethics board to review complaints.

      A decision was made to not include City Staff in the Code of Ethics under the representation that the City’s personnel policy includes a Code of Ethics for City Staff. City Staff has a Code of Conduct rather than a Code of Ethics.

      I am unaware of any enforcement of Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct or Oaths of Office since I have followed City Government. I may have missed such.

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  35. In reply to the question above related to public record requests – “What about emails relating to CEMP?”:

    I believe that a respectful email asking City Officials to please advise as to the status of the CEMP and ECC Chapter 6.60 is a reasonable request. My opinion is that it is best when a City Government is Open and Transparent and provides answers to reasonable citizen emails.

    City Officials are provided city email capabilities. I think it reasonable to hope that City Officials will steward those email capabilities for public good and respond to citizen emails. I don’t think citizens should have to file a public record request for emails to try and indirectly figure out if the CEMP and ECC Chapter 6.60 are being worked on. A direct answer is probably better and I would hope a direct answer would take little time and effort to provide.

    The Code of Ethics states that elected officials and appointed citizen volunteers serving in an official capacity SHALL: Keep the community informed on municipal affairs and encourage communications between the citizens and all municipal officers. Emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public and each other; seek to improve the quality of public service, and confidence of citizens.

    The Code of Conduct for City Staff requires city employees to treat the public as their most valued customer.

    Hopefully a City Official will advise as to the status of the CEMP and ECC Chapter 6.60 soon. The Agenda for December 15th was just released and I see no mention of either item. The September 15th Agenda said the CEMP needed to be updated this year and the year ends soon.

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  36. Hi. Repercussions that concern me include:

    1. The City of Edmonds not being prepared for an emergency.
    2. The existing CEMP not being a functional emergency plan, a concern voiced by a Councilmember during the December 15, 2015 City Council Meeting.
    3. Possible violation of Federal and State law.
    4. Possible impact on the City’s eligibility for federal disaster funds.

    If you want more details, I submitted nearly 6 pages of public comments for the April 14, 2020 City Council Meeting. This was back before comments were limited to 450 words. You can find my comments on pages 25 – 30 of the April 14, 2020 City Council Meeting Minutes.

    I do go on and on and on, but I hope I provided some helpful input. I hope you are able to read my public comments submitted for the April 14, 2020 City Council Meeting. Thanks.

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  37. Again, the mayor and the four councilmembers have an opportunity to share how they came to their conclusion that Mr. Pruitt is the best-fit and the best-qualified individual to lead our police department.

    When this is shared, perhaps there will be wider support for the decision. It could be that council and the mayor were not aware that Mr. Pruitt was initially hired by the Seattle Police Department but was terminated before he even completed the Washington State Police Academy. This isn’t a major point, but it’s certainly relevant in evaluating his qualifications.

    Not to suggest HR didn’t do their job, but short-lived jobs are a common red flag for employers.

    If an officer has a history of domestic violence, regardless of conviction, the public can’t trust them to protect victims of that same crime. If any incident of domestic violence appears on a candidate’s record, the agency will likely ban them from the force.

    Mr. Pruitt was a suspect in not one, but two Domestic Violence investigations involving two different women. And while it’s apparently the case that he wasn’t ultimately convicted in either instance, which means it wouldn’t show up on his record, there was certainly enough evidence for judges to issue protection orders. Which would be revealed in a thorough vetting process.

    The process of vetting candidates broke down somewhere – whether it was the rush to confirm without complete information, whether it was HR short-cutting the process, or the mayor overlooking information in order to push an agenda is all speculation and unknown. At this point, there has been no statement from the mayor to clear up a lot of questions – which is unfortunate.

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    1. Mike:
      A few days ago you did an objective side-by-side listing of the qualifications of Lawless and Pruitt. Jim Lawless was by far the more qualified candidate. There’s one qualification I don’t believe you listed – skin color. Mayor Nelson and Council President Fraley-Monillas will not state that they wanted a black person because that is a violation of employment laws.

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  38. After reading many articles & subsequent comments throughout the selection of our new police chief, I’ve drawn one conclusion.

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
    Sir Walter Scott

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  39. 4 council members and our mayor took probably one of the most important appointments a city can make and turned it into a political statement. What’s next Edmonds City Council….Defund the Police? We won’t forget this!!!

    This whole situation is disgraceful in so many ways but mainly to 3 key people: The people of Edmonds, Mr. Lawless and Mr. Pruitt. This progressive movement that casts all white people as racist has to stop. It’s funny that our council president, who is white, is calling those who live in Edmonds racist. This in and of itself is racism and stereotyping. Mr. Pruitt is a fine person, a military veteran who deserves consideration, but the way it was handled will always cast doubt over him in the community. We all know what this is really about and the fact that this type of politics has entered our community sickens me. People warned us that Nelson was a Seattle type progressive and this action has proven that. The only way we fight this is to oppose those 5 who voted yes in upcoming elections and call them out for what they really are. I myself may run to bring common sense back to this community. We need leaders who really lead, not give in to the hot topic of the day or go with whatever wind is blowing that month. We need real leadership, not political activists. Not leaders who call the people they represent racist when they don’t even know most of us. Leaders who don’t alienate the people they represent. Leaders who have the courage to make the tough decisions and make them fairly no matter what the popular thought is for that moment in time.

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  40. The best thing to do now is start looking for people whom you probably already know that would put Edmonds citizens first and has good character. Many times that person wouldn’t think about running until you plant the seed. It takes time to really get a person ready to run for Mayor. Start looking for someone you can support and financially back that person.
    It takes money to run for any position but starts first with a ethical person…Start looking for them!!!!

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  41. The real problem in this country is rampant group think. Our two major political parties have tended to go to their extreme ends looking for their leadership. I’ve reached the point where I don’t want to be a member of any group in the political or religious arenas because you are expected to be too much of a follower for my tastes. The minute you are roped into the “one true religion” or the “one true and honest political party”, you are done as an individual. You become just one of the herd, generally following some corrupt leader out for his/her own selfish gratification for wealth, fame, sexual desires, or power of some kind. The hardest thing in the world is to just be yourself and think your own thoughts about life and what it’s all about. In the end; if you’ve had at least one good parent or parent figure, and at least three or more life long true friends and/or lovers; you’ve had all there is to have, that means anything really. The houses, cars, boats, campers, big jobs and big titles are all just temporary.

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