Ethics board (2)drops complaint against Gase, postpones Kidd review
PORT ANGELES — An ethics board dismissed one prong of a two-part complaint Thursday, discarding allegations against Port Angeles City Councilman Dan Gase, and postponed consideration of a complaint against Deputy Mayor Cherie Kidd.
The complaint filed by the anti-fluoridation group Our Water, Our Choice! said Gase failed to object to Kidd's actions at a contentious Feb. 2 City Council meeting that the deputy mayor abruptly adjourned.
One member of the panel, Ken Williams, a retired Clallam County Superior Court judge, said after Thursday's meeting that inaction was not a violation of the code of ethics.
The complaint also said Kidd violated the city ethics code by bringing “disrepute” to the city and engaging in “abusive conduct” toward speakers at the meeting.
The ethics board unanimously decided to consider the complaint against Kidd at 2 p.m. next Thursday, April 7, postponing it until after a different ethics board composed of Frank Prince Jr., Grant Meiner and Danetta Rutten decides on a separate complaint — filed by Marolee Smith solely against Kidd — at 9 a.m. today in City Council chambers at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.
Also on the ethics panel with Williams are Jerry Dean and William Yucha.
Gase and Kidd were accompanied at the meeting by taxpayer-funded attorney Michael Kenyon of Issaquah.
Gase said he was not surprised by the decision.
“It's a shame they had to go through the time for what was really a frivolous claim,” he said afterward.
“It's kind of like trying to prove a negative.”
Prince, who was also at the meeting Thursday, urged the board to get together with his board so the panels' efforts were not duplicated.
Yucha said waiting would allow his own board to see what wasn't considered by Prince's board and fill in the gaps.
“They will do what they do, and we'll see what we get,” Yucha said.
Smith, who submitted a revised complaint after the ethics board first met to consider her allegations, on March 25 submitted a request to City Clerk Jennifer Veneklasen for all emails between City Attorney Bill Bloor and City Council members on council rules of procedure to be sent to her and ethics board members on Prince's committee.
She also sought all information on the council chamber's sign ban, written statements or oral testimony from council members on the Feb. 2 meeting who are not targeted by ethics complaints, and for written statements or oral testimony on the meeting from city staff who were present.
Veneklasen said Thursday she is in the process of fulfilling the request.
Prince said the board finished receiving information on the complaint against Kidd at noon Tuesday before it spent 2½ hours deliberating behind closed doors in preparation for today's meeting.
“We've moved on,” Prince said.