Friday, July 25, 2014

Sheriff's Deputies Openly Oppose Hauge’s Re-election

While the Kitsap County Deputy Sheriffs Guild hasn’t determined which candidate it will endorse for Kitsap County prosecutor, it has decided which one it won't endorse — incumbent Russ Hauge.

“The prosecutor’s office is a mess, and Hauge is responsible for that, stated Guild President Jay Kent. "We are not going to get the office’s problems fixed until he leaves the office.” In its strongly worded statement, the Guild said that while it was still assessing the other three candidates —
Bruce Danielson, Tina Robinson, and Bob Scales — it had decided to officially oppose Hauge and encouraged the voters to consider one of the other three in the August 5 primary.

Kent explained that the Guild took the unusual position of issuing an “anti-endorsement” because of its strong opposition to Hauge. He said the Guild wanted more time to assess the other three candidates, but that it was “firmly set” against Hauge’s reelection.

Kent explained that the Guild and its members had “no confidence” in the Prosecuting Attorney Civil Division. Kent said, “We are especially unhappy with Hauge’s management of civil law matters. For our members, how the civil lawyers handle cases matters as much if not more. If our members get sued they are supposed to be defended by an attorney from the civil division, but most of our members would consider demanding that outside legal counsel be appointed if certain of Hauge’s attorneys were assigned to their case.”

He went on to say, “We have seen his civil attorneys up close, and we would not want them handling our matters, given their recent performance.” Kent acknowledged that the way Hauge’s attorneys handled a number of recent cases with the Deputies Guild and other County labor unions influenced its assessment. But he added: “Yes, they have interfered with our labor contract, and are a big part of the reason we have been working without one since 2009. But it’s their overall performance and apparent incompetence that have alarmed us the most. As Deputy Sheriffs we are held to a high performance and ethics standard — and should be — but Hauge needs to hold his own deputy prosecutors to a similar standard.”

Kent mentioned that two of Hauge’s deputies recently were cited by the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission for withholding records from the Guild and being less than truthful to an arbitrator about it. “Our deputies would be fired if they lie, but as far as I know Hauge’s hasn’t done anything to investigate these deputies.”

Kent also mentioned the Guild had identified other “ethical lapses” by Hauge’s deputies. Hauge’s chief civil prosecutor Jacquelyn Aufderheide was also cited by the Public Employment Relations Commission for unlawfully interfering with an agreement between the emergency dispatchers union and the County.

He said that the Guild was concerned that another one of Hauge’s deputies had admitted to what the Guild viewed as “potential tampering” with a lawsuit between the Guild and the County by “improperly” talking to County judges while the case was pending. Kent noted that the lawyer later changed her story about the context of that exchange despite the fact that court transcripts demonstrate otherwise. “It’s clear one of her versions of the story was untrue, yet we have seen Hauge take no action on this whatsoever.”

Guild Vice President Andy Aman expressed similar concerns about the County’s civil lawyers. “Of course our members are frustrated that they interfere with our contract and litigate everything to death, without apparent purpose. But just as big of a concern for us is the apparent lack of professionalism we have directly observed. I would not want them representing me if I were personally sued.”

Aman explained that he recently watched Aufderheide in court trying to get a brief filed well after the filing deadline. “She explained to the judge that she didn’t know that there was a deadline for filing the brief. First of all, I just didn’t believe her but if that’s true that the chief civil prosecutor doesn’t know what the rules are for filing a brief that’s also very concerning. Frankly, I was embarrassed for her as I watched.” Aman noted that “they seem to make a lot of mistakes and then make excuses for those mistakes.”

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mayor Matthes Takes Another Cheap Shot

I have made it a point NOT to publicly comment on anything Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes does, doesn’t do, or what passes for leadership and/or management these days at City Hall. The ONLY exception was to point out the blatant lies contained in his Citizens Report on the annexation of the Bethel Corridor. In that report, he stated the Council NEVER discussed the costs of service delivery — in spite of the fact there was more than a YEAR of public process — including numerous Finance Committee meetings, several City Council meetings, and in a number of public hearings involved.

In that report, he stated, “When discussions were happening regarding the Bethel Corridor annexation, it was touted that the annexation would bring in a lot of revenue. What was never discussed was the costs to provide service and what the impact would be to the City.”

That is either a blatant lie — or the words of someone completely uninformed about the entire annexation process for Bethel, and how the City went about it — in spite of his being a member of the City Planning Commission at the time. You can find my response here.

Last week, Matthes attempted to imply that I was involved in some kind of sinister back room deal that gave away the City’s water right to C&M Golf LLC, owners of McCormick Woods Golf Course. Nothing could be further from the truth. C&M Golf owns the well in question — NOT the City. With this mind, Councilman Rob
Putaansuu was quoted in the Port Orchard Independent as saying, “This is petty politics, it really is. I think this whole situation is politically motivated and Matthes is trying to point to something Lary Coppola (former mayor) did wrong.”

According to the Independent, Putaansuu said Matthes' questions about the Well 4B water rights have been answered. He noted Matthes sent out an email asking the questions, but he doesn’t think the Mayor really wanted answers to those questions.

“He never included the city attorney (Greg Jacoby) in the email requesting the information,”
Putaansuu told the Independent. “He (Jacoby) is the one who could have provided the information. There was an email send out Friday (July 4) by the attorney that answered all of the mayor’s questions.”

The agreement he is questioning was originally approved by the City Council in 2003 — when Jay Weatherill was Mayor. The Department of Ecology (DOE) didn’t approve it until 2005, when Kim Abel was Mayor, and the City didn’t receive the final DOE approval paperwork until 2008. Why it took the state so long to issue that approval and deliver the final paperwork to the City is a mystery that can only be solved in Olympia. However, City Attorney Greg Jacoby has confirmed this timeline, and in 2008 it was he that advised me to sign the agreement — just as the sitting Mayor is obligated to sign any other Council-approved document.

Had the agreement been delivered to the city in a timely manner by DOE, either Mayor Weatherill or Mayor Abel would have signed that document and this would be a total non-issue. So if petty politics ISN'T the reason for this to come forward now, any thinking person has to wonder WHY Mayor Matthes and his political mentor Gil Michael, have brought it forward at all, because in the end, the City benefited. As
Putaansuu has suggested, it appears to be petty politics at its worst. Or perhaps my wife and I looking at homes in McCormick Woods recently has spooked Matthes, who is rumored to want another term as Mayor.
Michael also called for Councilman Jerry Childs and Putaansuu to recuse themselves from this issue because they play golf at McCormick Woods. This is an inane request, that borders on the absurd. All he is doing is trying to cast doubt on Putaansuu and Childs' integrity in the minds of low-information voters — something that in my view he’s no stranger to doing.

The truth is, Childs and Putaansuu have done absolutely nothing wrong. Michael also points to Putaansuu's support of C&M Golf partner Shawn Cucciardi when he ran for Port Of Bremerton Commissioner in 2011 as another reason to recuse himself — in spite of being Chair of the City's Utility Committee. His support of Cucciardi has nothing at all to do with THIS issue, and it was done as a private citizen — NOT as a council member. It is absolutely no different than Michael’s political support of Council members Fred Chang and Bek Ashby. Using Michael’s logic, they both should have to recuse themselves as well.

In the future, I would appreciate it if the Mayor and Mr. Michael would acquaint themselves with the actual facts before implying I'm involved in something sinister, and attempting to implicate me in it with NO proof whatsoever. Their cheap shots at me, at my character, and at my integrity, have gotten real old.