City learned about Pruitt’s history two weeks before mayor’s nomination

A My Edmonds News investigation has found that as early as mid-November, the city’s human resources director was told about a history of job and domestic concerns in former police chief candidate Sherman Pruitt’s background. The director was told of the information at least two weeks before Mayor Mike Nelson nominated Pruitt.

Mayor Nelson in his Thursday video address on Facebook Thursday.

This is the timeline in the weeks that led up to the police chief vote:

  • Mid-November: Human Resources Director Jessica Neill Hoyson is informed about career and domestic violence concerns in Pruitt’s past.
  • Dec. 3: Mayor Nelson nominates Pruitt.
  • Dec. 3: Councilmember Vivian Olson calls the HR Director with questions about domestic violence issues she had become aware of in Pruitt’s past.
  • Dec. 4-5: two city councilmembers now say the administration gave them a ‘heads up’ on the domestic violence issues but assured them there was nothing to delay confirmation.
  • Dec. 4: Olson orders her own copy of the documents.
  • Dec. 6: Olson receives documents; emails copies to the HR Director, the mayor and all council members.
  • Dec. 6: Two other councilmembers now say when they got that packet, it was the first time they knew about any potential issues in the Pruitt nomination.
  • Dec. 7: Then-Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and the mayor announce they have changed the confirmation vote for the chief from Dec. 15  to the next day, Dec. 8.
  • Dec. 8: The council, in a 4-3 vote, confirms Pruitt as Edmonds Police Chief.
  • Dec. 15: Mayor Nelson writes Pruitt, rescinding the job offer.
  • Dec. 15: My Edmonds News reports Seattle police fired Pruitt in 2004 while he was still in training.

A source who has in-depth knowledge of the circumstances and asked not to be identified, said Neill Hoyson was told that Pruitt had sued the City of Arlington; that he had also been terminated as a Seattle cop, and that she should talk to the Tulalip Tribal police (where Pruitt had worked previously) as well. The source told us that Hoyson was advised that Edmonds should to talk to Seattle police to find out why he was terminated and that there was more information in public court testimony. (My Edmonds News has previously reported on that court case, in which Pruitt testifies about domestic violence incidents in his past.)

We asked Mayor Nelson and HR Director Neill Hoyson about this new information. Spokesperson Patrick Doherty, the city’s Economic Development and Community Services Director, responded by email Friday:

“We are moving forward at this time on our new police chief recruitment process, announced yesterday in the mayor’s video statement, and the details of which we will be happy to discuss further with you,” Doherty said. “These detailed questions about the past process are no longer germane.”

In the same email, Mayor Nelson offered this additional comment:

“What keeps me up at night is how to address the mounting concerns related to this pandemic,” Nelson said. “What I hear most from residents is when can I get the vaccine and when can my kids go back to school? These are the kinds of questions I am focusing on.”

Neither Nelson nor Neill Hoyson answered the questions we have raised. We have again asked the mayor for an interview.

My Edmonds News has also learned that just days before the confirmation vote, the city administration assured some — but not all — councilmembers that there was nothing in Pruitt’s past that would affect their plans to vote for him. Two of those councilmembers are Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Luke Distelhorst. Susan Paine and Laura Johnson have not answered questions we sent them about this.

The three other councilmembers said the city never alerted them. Diane Buckshnis, Vivian Olson and Kristiana Johnson told us they only found out about the domestic violence and career concerns after Olson obtained the federal records and sent them to human resources, the mayor and council.

Councilmember Luke Distelhorst

One of the councilmembers the city reassured was Luke Distelhorst. He emailed us this statement when we asked about domestic violence concerns and when he knew.

“I had been informed by the administration around Dec. 4-5 that all due diligence (legal, FBI, background checks, reference checks, polygraphs, etc.) on those concerns had been completed,” Distelhorst said. “It was also my understanding that the individual is a current chief of police, past interim chief of police, and would have gone through similar checks for the hiring/promotion of those positions as well.”

Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas

Last week, former Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas told us that “HR knew about the domestic violence; he (Pruitt) disclosed it.” According to Fraley-Monillas, Neill Hoyson told her that Pruitt “disclosed everything in his background.”

However, it was only after our interview with Fraley-Monillas that the city, for the first time, confirmed that to My Edmonds News:

“Chief Pruitt disclosed to the city, before he was appointed, the two situations from his past that he also discussed in his 2009 trial testimony,” Neill Hoyson said.

Fraley-Monillas also added that “before Vivian (Olson) did the records check, we knew it. It was nothing that was hidden.”

Councilmember Vivian Olson

Councilmember Olson said the city never reached out to her. Olson said in late November, she googled Pruitt, then contacted the HR Director Neill Hoyson after Olson found out that Pruitt had sued the City of Arlington in that civil rights case. “When I put in Sherman Pruitt’s name, the lawsuit was the second thing that showed up on the screen. Just the fact that he was suing a city, I thought we should look further,” Olson said.

She said that at that time, she didn’t know any other details about Pruitt, but contacted Hoyson —  concerned, she told us, that such a lawsuit might be a “red flag” for his hiring by a city. Olson said Hoyson assured her that the city was doing an enhanced background check and that Pruitt was “thoroughly vetted.”

On Dec. 3, the day the mayor nominated Pruitt, Olson said she called Neill Hoyson again and asked to see a copy of the records. Hoyson, she said, told her that she didn’t have the documents. Olson scrambled to order them and received the records Sunday afternoon, Dec. 6.

As My Edmonds News has previously reported, the testimony in the civil rights case reveals Pruitt admitted to past instances of domestic violence. He testified that an arrest warrant was issued against him, then later dropped; he testified that as a member of the Marine Corps, he was served with a military “no contact order” and that his commander had ordered him to 16 weeks of counseling. Eventually, a federal judge dismissed that 2009 lawsuit in a summary judgement, ruling in favor of Arlington.

Two more councilmembers also said the city never alerted them about any issues before the vote. They said they only found out when they got Olson’s email packet on Dec. 6.

Councilmember Diane Buckshnis told My Edmonds News that “I was never given information regarding Pruitt’s prior history until I received the information Councilmember Olson sent on Sunday.”

Councilmember Kristiana Johnson also told us the city did not give her any advance notice of the issues; no emails, no phone call: “Absolutely not, I got no phone calls from the city. Absolutely not.”

As we reported previously, the domestic violence information is important because the Edmonds Police Department’s “Standards for Employment and Disqualifiers” specify that any act of domestic violence, as defined by law, disqualifies any police applicant. Under the city’s standards, an applicant does not have to be arrested or convicted. And, there is no time limitation on domestic violence; only the stipulation that an incident must have been “committed as an adult.”

On Dec. 8, the Edmonds City Council voted not to go into executive session to discuss any issues regarding the Pruitt nomination. A motion to table the confirmation until the following week was voted down 4-3, with Fraley-Monillas, Distelhorst, Johnson and Paine voting no to an executive session; Olson, Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson voting yes.

The final vote, again 4-3, confirmed Pruitt. One week later, the mayor in a letter to Pruitt rescinded the job offer. His reason: Pruitt had not let Edmonds know that he had applied for a job in another city. We learned later that the missing informatinon was Pruitt’s application to be a patrol officer with Lake Stevens at least 10 years earlier. In the mayor’s letter, there was no mention of any other employment  or domestic violence issues.

The council never discussed any of this in public or in executive session, even though the city had been told about the concerns and urged to investigate them in mid-November.

— By Bob Throndsen

 

54 Replies to “City learned about Pruitt’s history two weeks before mayor’s nomination”

  1. Another solid piece of reporting by Mr. Thronson and MEN. It reveals that the Mayor and staff were selective on the information they released to Council members and cherry picked the information they gave to supportive Council members Then they accelerated the confirmation process with the assistance of former Council President Fraley-Monillas to try and cut off further examination when Council member Vivian Olson started asking questions. A big stink fest. Now Mayor Nelson refuses to answer legitimate questions by the press and issues statements about “ time to move on”. No accountability and just a brick wall of silence from the Mayor. Edmonds deserves better.

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  2. First, thank you Mr. Throndsen for your “My Edmonds news investigation. Second, we can the citizens of Edmonds expect a resignation from the mayor & some city council members? We must not let this issue slide to the back burner and simmer. We need/deserve new and honest leadership in Edmonds.

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    1. Now that the Mayor has dragged his feet…..for weeks..waiting for Chief Lawless to finally decide he doesnt want the job anymore….can anyone in the city find him soon to see if he will reconsider?
      Is everyone simply going to let the mayor perform a trump tactic ( an unwise decision)….and then remain silent and move on to other issues?
      After all this time we have spent reading and wondering what the end game will be; citizens of Edmonds still have time to actually influence the eventual outcome of this selection process. We still have time…hopefully. When is the next city council meeting?
      Nice tie you are wearing in the pic…Nelson. Please give the citizens a legitimate voice in future decisions. If we cant get Chief Lawless to hopefully reconsider.

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    2. Correct. Get it done. We wait, something sneaky will happen again..its happened too many times. Enough is enough. As long as he is mayor, i will be voting NO on all his levy’s. I am a Democrat.

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  3. The Mayor is in the railroad business apparently.

    It’s worth adding to this that the Mayor told Alicia Crank and her panel that each appointee was “equal on paper” (as I think she put it). Their interviews had the opportunity to address the issues had they known.

    Also note: It doesn’t seem like Chief Pruitt was misrepresenting himself. He’s not perfect, but seems to be honest.

    Choo choo.

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  4. Between a rock and a hard spot. Govern on mayor. You’ve created this lack of transparency, and trust. its up to you to regain it. We need a positive move forward. Good luck!

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  5. Quote of the year by Mayor Nelson…. “What keeps me up at night is how to address the mounting concerns related to this pandemic,” Nelson said. “What I hear most from residents is when can I get the vaccine and when can my kids go back to school? These are the kinds of questions I am focusing on.”

    Really? That’s all your focusing on?? How does the Mayor of Edmonds have any control over what the plan is for the Corona Virus that would take up all his time and focus? If that is in fact true, please let us know what that plan is Mr Mayor!! When will the vaccines arrive? Who can get them? When can we schedule our vaccine appointments? Is the city providing a vaccination site? Please let us know your grand plan or maybe that is an excuse for not doing an interview and answering difficult questions. Is the Corona Virus taking up so much of your time that you cannot do anything else? Maybe that is why you forgot to pay attention to the reports about Mr. Pruitt’s background.

    Also you say details about the past process are not fair game now. Really?? Who gives you the authority to decide that for us? Are we just supposed to stop asking questions because you say so? Your constituents still want answers and have questions for you but you have the power to say that those concerns are not fair game now and you have moved on. Who do you think you represent? At some point you have to answer tough questions instead of hiding behind the Corona Virus and Facebook.

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  6. You really can’t make this stuff up. It’s like the Bloomin Onion. You peel back each petal until you get to the juicy center!! It’s almost comical now watching his responses to the information as it comes out.

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  7. Great reporting Mr. Throndsen.

    And thank you to those residents who continued to ask questions of the Mayor and council about this process. Now we know why things didn’t seem to make sense.

    Mr. Mayor,

    You have jeopardized our safety. You put politics over protection. You have practiced secrecy over transparency. You have ignored facts and the desires of those you serve. We want a Mayor who is value driven, possesses a strong moral compass, has integrity, empathy, commitment to transparency and communication, listens to those he serves, is humble, self-disciplined, and accepts responsibility.

    You have violated the public’s trust. You let us down when you failed to hire the most qualified candidate to serve as our next Chief of Police and we have lost faith in you as our Mayor. We ask that you demonstrate your love for this city, and those who live here and do the right thing by resigning immediately so we can heal as a community and come together to protect and improve this precious corner of the country.

    https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/drop-the-mike

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  8. I wonder which costs more, a new national search for a police chief or a recall election to drain the mayoral swamp.

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    1. Correct. Get it done. We wait, something sneaky will happen again..its happened too many times. Enough is enough. As long as he is mayor, i will be voting NO on all his levy’s. I am a Democrat.

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  9. Thanks to Bob Throndson for his usual great job of “digging’ and reporting and thanks to My Edmonds News for being willing to publish this. Pretty old fashioned! Ben and Barbara Cain

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  10. Am I the only one who is concerned that we need to rely on retired journalists to report outside the media echo chamber?

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    1. A journalist may retire from one media outlet but then work for another. I pay all our journalists so not sure why that distinction matters. — Teresa

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      1. Hopefully Bob will do some investigation into the effectiveness of Covid lockdowns, masks and the legalities of quarantining the healthy for the first time in history and its economic impact. I would love to see a hungry young journalist question government, I’m not holding my breath.

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    2. In almost every case, particularly in the media (with the recent shifts to more polarized editorials versus fact based reporting) I would read the news from a retired journalist. It was not always talking heads that have separated themselves to either the left or the right to sell more pharmaceuticals in between breaking news alerts. Facts go from A to B to C – and reporting is just that. Editorials are opinion pieces, and that seems to sell these days, in spite of the facts.

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  11. Mr. Doherty, why aren’t these questions still relevant? Wouldn’t we always want to know what the truth is? The truth is always relevant.

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  12. Thank you Bob for reporting the timeline of all these incidents. It seems quite clear to me that the Mayor and the HR Director didn’t do their job. Clearly they understand this ……“Standards for Employment and Disqualifiers” specify that any act of domestic violence, as defined by law, disqualifies any police applicant. Under the city’s standards, an applicant does not have to be arrested or convicted.” and still pushed through with the rushed nomination/appointment. And now the aftermath they refuse to discuss as it’s “not germane”. I think your abilities or lack thereof to perform your duties of position “are germane” and you both should go! It’s part of your JOB to be transparent, and you’ve both been the opposite of that. How disappointing for the people of Edmonds.

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  13. Thank you Mr. Throndson for this clear and precise article showing the sequence of the Police Chief process. So a question for you…how do we get the Mayor to be part of this conversation. I know you have tried to interview him and he has chosen not to participate. We can talk about this but nothing can be resolved until the Mayor is open and honest about the past process. We have tried writing to him..no response, we have tried to engage him through MEN…no response, even with a petition to recall him…no response. Thoughts?

    Mayor Nelson, Please understand your community is not ready to “move on” until you respond to the justified questions about the previous process. Learning from past mistakes is critical to future decision-making. Until you are more forthcoming, people will continue to ask the questions and attempt to engage you.
    Fighting COVID, the past Police Chief hiring process, and public safety are not mutually exclusive.

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  14. “These detailed questions about the past process are no longer germane.” is the understatement of the decade. For decades we have struggled with the failure of systems, policies, and process to work effectively and transparently for the sake of fairness, equity, and justice. That is what got us in the mess we, as a nation, are in today. One side brushing off their failures and past approach as “germane” to the conversation is one of the root causes. The first 2.5 minutes of the Facebook video were, for lack of a better word, puerile and defensive in nature and still lack accountability for the actions of an ill-perceived, secretive, and by nature, a divisive unilateral action. The latest from the apparently new Edmonds Spokesperson follow the same logic. It would have been easier for the Mayors Office to say, “You don’t play nice in the playground, I am taking my toys home, and I will never be your friend, never, never, never”. Followed by a sticking out of the tongue, and a “Nanny, Nanny, Boo, Boo.”

    We are all awake at night about the pandemic. I do not have a government job that will pay me no matter what decisions I make. Mayor Nelson, detail what you are doing to help us sleep better.

    This is a long comment, and I am sure I will run out of words, but follow me here. My Dad grew up in an orphanage in Texas. He served in Vietnam and then became a plumber. He learned a lot of good sayings. I am going to pass them on to the Mayor for advice. For what it is worth, it is free. I am not getting paid to tell people that they are bullies and racists.

    See next post.

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  15. So back to those pieces of advice my Dad gave me:

    1. “If you want to be loved, get a dog, a horse, and a cow. The dog will love you no matter what. The horse will take you where you want to go, and the cow will feed you. You just have to take care of them.” – Mayor, you were elected by the people to take care of city business. Take care of all of the people of Edmonds and you will get their support. Ignore them, and I think you have found that you better double up on your love of your pets.

    2. “If you’re going to be stupid, you’d better be tough”. This was his lesson in accountability. Instead of spending the first 2.5 minutes of the Facebook video on rhetoric, perhaps it would have been better to just go into the clear outline of the process you are going to follow. That was a good process. It should have been there a year ago, and should have been broadcast a year ago, but hell, you did put out the process. The rest, well that was rhetoric. You called out an unidentifiable group with unidentifiable goals. From what I see, you have been asked direct and clear questions and respond with obfuscation.

    3. “One withdrawal from the trust bank account means you’ll probably be broke for life” – Trust is earned, not elected. I applaud you on your victory. You won. That does not mean you still do not need to work to earn the trust of the people. My data suggests that is not going in the right direction.

    4. “In a plumbers world, all things are equal.” – I will let you figure that one out.

    Now some ideas…..

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  16. Lastly, and in summary, I am sure the Mayor and Council are well aware of ICMA.org. Here is a link that I have fund informative and educational that presents a ready made framework, extensive dialogue, and case studies on social equity – https://icma.org/topics/social-justice. It is worth the time to read.

    Finally, here are some specic ideas:

    1. Define Success & Measure. – What is the definition of success? What metrics are you measuring to for that success? Are the metrics biased (either mathematically or systemically) – right now Mayor, I see no definition of success. I see no roadmap. I see a lot of speech and consulting bills.

    2. Equitable Council Representation – Move away from at-large positions to district based elections. Representation by “wards” within our Community will bring equity within each of the areas of our City. Appoint a non-voting equity member to the Council. Add that voice to the Council to assist in providing our current Council with feedback and actions that may improve equity and justice.

    3. Allocate public funds to material programs, not additional studies or consultants. Public private partnerships have proven effective in rent assistance, business co-op space, job co-op opportunities.

    4. Leverage what has been effective in other Cities. That information and programs are free through the UCL, the ICMA, and other organizations that promote equity and justice.

    5. Align the citizens, council, and your administration. Using words like “status quo” is coffee creamer. Use actions to define what the status quo is, and then align to what the vision is, and then march in that direction.

    Sorry to be long-winded. Edmonds success relies on the Mayors success. To date, the Public Works, Parks, and Police Departments are putting out detailed success plans, the only groups that are not are Executive and Administrative.

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  17. Excellent reporting. Thank you MEN for continuing to pursue this story. The fact that Mayor Nelson doesn’t seem to be losing any sleep over this reaffirms my belief that he needs to go. I know how we get rid of the Mayor, we vote, but how do we fire our HR Director? She clearly is culpable in failing to due diligence and disclose critical information during the hiring process. I’m very uncomfortable with her overseeing our city’s human assets

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  18. I see a lot of people in Edmonds that think our leadership is not representing the citizens and are making them feel like they don’t matter in making policy that will hurt the city or make it better.

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  19. I supported Mike when he ran for Mayor. This – if true and proven – does not bode well for him and we the
    Edmonds public deserve a detailed and accurate response. We live across the street from Susan Paine and hold her in very high regard. I hope that she and others will respond so that we all can know the full and complete story.
    I would hope that when the City of Edmonds hires a new Chief of Police that the process is much more open and transparent – and ultimately successful in hiring a top notch new Chief. Bob Gould

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  20. Let me see if I got this straight: the mayor and adrienne and the HR director had the information about Pruitt that would of forfeited him from the hiring process in advance. They shared this with only 4 council members and then told them that all was okay. adrienne and the mayor moved up the process. when the other 3 council members got the information on their own digging, they ALL asked for an executive session to discuss it—some asked ahead of the council meeting in email (that you can see in the public disclosure on the edmonds website) The 4 council people who had the information all voted NOT to have an executive session even though their colleagues just got the infromation and said so.
    A question for Ken R since he knows the codes. What are the ethical violations that happened here? even if it isn’t a legal ethics problem it does show really bad judgement and we should ask why we would want people that are this sneaky in office.

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      1. Thanks, Joan. It looks like the mayor, the HR director and certain council members fell short on several of the things listed. Nelson, adrienne and Luke should all go. Don’t even follow their own code of ethics

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        1. Thanks, Joan, for providing Sam and others a link to the Code of Ethics.

          Sam, City Council voted to “start small” when it adopted the Code of Ethics on June 2, 2015. It has stayed small and has never been improved upon. I have never seen it enforced. There are no enforcement procedures and policies. The Code of Ethics may simply be empty words on paper.

          I hope the Code of Ethics will be improved upon, including the establishment of enforcement procedures and policies. I believe an independent Ethics Board needs to be established and that violations should have consequences. The consequences should be serious enough to discourage the conduct from happening again.

          We have a perfect test case to help us improve upon the Code of Ethics. Three Councilmembers were kept in the dark about the domestic violence and career concerns of a candidate rushed forward for Council Confirmation. I believe the actions of those who kept the three Councilmembers in the dark warrant significant discipline. The discipline must be strong enough to discourage a repeat of such conduct.

          Who would ever think we would see such conduct, Councilmembers kept in the dark about something they should have been fully informed of?

          This case implies that enforcement of the Code of Ethics cannot be left in the hands of those governed by such. As only three Councilmembers were kept in the dark, one of the other Councilmembers who voted against even entering Executive Session to discuss the matter would have to vote in favor of Code of Ethics discipline in this case. That seems far-fetched. I think we need an independent Ethics Board.

          Just more examples of the broad range of problems faced by our City government, many brought on by the City government’s own actions.

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  21. Mayor Nelson here’s a story you should read up on. It’s about a politician who made a tragic error, and instead of going into hiding he apologized to his constituents.

    U.S. Sen. James Lankford apologized to Black Tulsans on Thursday for not recognizing that his involvement in questioning presidential election results would offend them.

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  22. The arrogance of Nelson exhibited in his ‘statement’ is absolutely staggering. He needs to be removed from office, IMMEDIATELY. He has no influence whatsoever on either vaccines or when kids to back to school. Go crawl back under your rock, Mike. If you had any ethics you would have resigned weeks ago.

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  23. Mayor Nelson needs to resign!
    Edmonds Personnel Director Hoyson needs to resign!
    Councilmember Fraley-Monillas needs to resign!

    Those three made a huge mess of what should have been a simple, straight-forward action. They have tarnished the reputation our small town once enjoyed. How many more sordid details will it take to make them resign? They would be doing Edmonds a favor by stepping down immediately!

    Jim Lawless has been shown to be an honorable, trustworthy man truly dedicated to serving his community.
    Councilmember Vivian Olson should also be commended for her efforts and honesty.
    Thanks to Bob Throndsen and MEN once again for bringing us the truth! (We certainly cannot trust our own mayor or personnel director to do that.)

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  24. This is the strong Mayor/ weak Council form of city government in action. All Dept. Heads have to answer to the mayor to get and keep their jobs. Changing out the mayor and some of the Council will only change the power bloc dynamics of who really runs the show. Our current problem is the mayor and Council are more interested in solving racism and saving the planet than they are in efficiently running a small city. The prior administration was more interested in solving regional transportation problems and selling Edmonds to the highest bidder than running a small city. It’s broken and needs fixing. The present system isn’t fixable.

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    1. Clint, so who hires the city manager. If it is the council that puts a lot of power in one body of gov. I would like to see us elect council
      members by districts first.

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      1. Don, in council-manager cities, the city council hires the city manager. That manager is almost always an experienced outsider, rarely someone who actually knows the city. City managers function just like school-district superintendents~ they are a contractor hired for a term of a few years, and all administrative functions of the city are turned over to the manager. The council only sets policy, and implementation of that policy is fully in the hands of the city manager.

        That system can function very well if there are good people on council and the manager is both knowledgeable and wise. But the system can break down as we’ve seen recently in Mill Creek. If the manager fails to perform or the relationship between council and manager breaks down, the council can fire the manager. But that can get expensive and time-consuming, depending on the terms of the manager’s contract.

        But at least the manager can be fired, unlike a mayor elected by the voters. An elected mayor can only be “fired” via a recall petition and another vote of the people, also an expensive and time-consuming process.

        In short, there’s no perfect system of government for running a city such as Edmonds. Dysfunction can plague either system if people involved can’t get along or decide to not follow the rules.

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        1. I notice people generally opposed to the Council / Manager system of city government always refer to the problem cities under that system and never mention the apparent successes like Bellevue, Shoreline and Mountlake Terrace. That is the same thing as me saying that because the current Edmonds Strong Mayor/ Weak Council system is dysfunctional for us, that it is automatically bad for every small town in general. In other words a town like Edmonds has different needs and problem solving requirements than a town the size of Woodway for example. A system that is great for one group is not necessarily the best for another.

          In terms of what the Council people do in relation to the function of the city manager, it seems to me that would be up to how the system was restructured. I don’t think there is any state law indicating that Council people couldn’t have an administrative function as well as a policy function. For example why couldn’t the Council as a group pick the department heads as well as the city manager. Is there some sort of state law that would prevent that? It seems to me that there are a lot of assumptions in the comment above about how things have to work. If someone proves me wrong about that I will certainly admit I was wrong.

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  25. Hi Don. I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I would like to try going to 5 full time city council persons elected out of districts so we all have at least one person who has to listen to our specific concerns about true CITY issues in our own neighborhoods. Maybe have three year terms rotating non compensated ceremonial Mayor role for 6 mos. or a year. The council would interview and have final say on city mgr. and all Dept heads. Good job with good pay should attract good Council candidates. Also elect or appoint a full time city attorney who actually handles all city legal issues and really knows city code backwards and forward. Our current attorney appears to be winging it and I suspect Pruitt will sue us sooner than later.

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  26. The City of Bellevue is an example of what Clint is proposing here. Council /Manager form of government. Council members represent districts. They have an ongoing system of performance measurement and they have had consistent performance year over year. Bot perfect and always room to improve but their consistency is significant

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  27. Some additional information. The majority (about 85 percent of washington cities) operate under a mayor /council form of government. Interestingly while a fewer number of cities operate under a council / manager system they do represent some larger communities (obviously not Seattle) Also many cities operating under a mayor council form of government have city managers or city administrators. Highly trained in how to manage complex local governments

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  28. And one last bit of information. Edmonds is what is referred to as a code city (based on population size when incorporated) Among code cities (so basically similar size if growth is consistent across them all) avout one third are council / manager forms of government and two thirds are mayor council

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  29. Thanks for expanding on my comments Rebecca. Some of these council/manager cities use survey companies for citizens to rate the performance of the city functions seeking to improve annual scores. I think Shoreline uses this approach for more accountability by public servants.

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  30. Yes my company does this for the city of Bellevue seattle Renton and companies across the united states

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  31. If the mayor and/or the HR director communicated verbally, via email or text to four city council members about a candidate and his qualifications or lack of, and perhaps also about plans to move forward with nomination and hoped for approval, that would be a quorum of the city council and possibly a meeting per state regulations. Might be worth checking into.

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    1. Excellent point Carl! If they did that, that is a violation of public meetings act. If MEN has all of those records, it should be easy to check even if the emails or calls went to the 4 council people separately. Here is what the law says that would fit what happened:
      “Action” means the transaction of the official business of a public agency by a governing body including but not limited to receipt of public testimony, deliberations, discussions, considerations, reviews, evaluations, and final actions.”

      http://mrsc.org/Home/Stay-Informed/MRSC-Insight/March-2013/Email-and-the-OPMA-Key-Tips-for-Local-Government-E.aspx
      Based on this information, it looks like the 4 city council members and mayor violated this law.

      Ignored

  32. The mayor and several council members have demonstrated their ideological left/liberal bent results in contempt, dishonestly, and clear incompetence. The chasm of wisdom many folks had voting for these people astounds one imagination.

    Ignored

  33. I’m curious if the information Councilmember Olson obtained was “publicly available information”. If so, then there should never been an objection to discussing it at the city council meeting. That in itself would suggest something behind the scenes was going on.

    Ignored

  34. Actions have consequences. My Edmonds News reported on January 7, 2020 that: “New Mayor Mike Nelson then stepped in, telling City Clerk Scott Passey that he would “exercise my authority as mayor” and break the tie, giving Fraley-Monillas four votes and another one-year term as council president.”

    As a result, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas (AFM) was council president on Sunday Dec. 6 when Councilmember Diane Buckshnis (DB) asked her to add an executive session to the Dec. 8 agenda. DB again asked for an executive session on Dec. 7 at noon and her request was not answered. During the Dec. 8 Council Meeting, DB stated she hoped her fellow Councilmembers understand that personnel issues and documents are part of the executive session mandate because the candidates were interviewed in executive session.

    In response, AFM said during the Dec. 8 Council Meeting that an executive session was already held on this issue. AFM said City staff have done numerous checks, checks and rechecks, contacting everyone from the FBI to the military and back. AFM said the HR Director indicated she had contacted perhaps 14 people from the FBI, the Tribes and the military and all the references were very good. AFM said she was not interested in continuing to “pursue some sort of a hunt for someone at this point.” As the Council had already had an executive session, she encouraged the Council to move forward tonight.

    AFM said earlier during the Dec. 8 Meeting that sometimes she liked the Mayor’s appointments, sometimes she didn’t, but no matter what, she had to respect the decision made by the Mayor for an executive level position.

    Why would AFM think she had to respect a decision made by the Mayor rather than understanding the serious power of Council’s confirmation authority?

    Ignored

    1. The following is an excerpt from the September 13, 2013 City Council Meeting minutes:

      Council President Petso recalled a time where Council was told the Mayor had made his choice and even if the Council did not confirm, the individual had been hired and it was a done deal. She asked if the code needed to include language that Council confirmation was required. Mr. Taraday was uncertain how that could have occurred under the current code. His interpretation of the statement in the code that the appointment is subject to Council confirmation was that an appointment that was not confirmed was void. He summarized the Council’s confirmation was a serious power and could not be ignored by the Mayor.

      Again: Why would AFM think she had to respect a decision made by the Mayor rather than understanding the serious power of Council’s confirmation authority?

      Why would a Council President push forward a confirmation vote by a full week the day AFTER she refused to honor a reasonable request for an Executive Session by a fellow councilmember? DB was very correct: Nothing may be construed to prevent a governing body from holding an executive session during a regular or special meeting to evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment.

      I suspect DB’s request to have an Executive Session did not even require a vote. I suspect once the request was made, it had to be honored.

      DB made her request for an Executive Session the day before then-Council President AFM and the mayor announced on Dec. 7 they have changed the confirmation vote for the chief from Dec. 15 to the next day, Dec. 8.

      Ignored

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