Are Monte Mayor’s Pants on Fire?

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A few weeks ago we brought you another update on the Montesano City Hall Two-Step regarding two deputy clerks who were “laid off” due to budget blues. Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any ‘twilight-ier,’ it heads into Rod Serling territory.

In a prior post on the subject, we included a portion of an August 17 email from Mayor Vini Samuel to Teamsters Union dude Jim Pea. In that email, Mayor Samuel makes an allegation regarding former clerk Ashlee Sund. Samuel claims that Sund “was seen attempting to delete city records by the remaining city Senior Clerk and Mr. Streeter and she was put on Admin leave until end of employment term.”

Vini Letter 2

The “admin leave” biz was news to Ashlee Sund. So she submitted a public records request to the city on September 6. Said request goes like:

This is a formal request to provide all information,emails, memo’s (sic), written statements, work papers, notes, data, financial information, concerning the “layoff’s (sic) of Chelsea Anthony and Ashlee Sund. This will include any discussion between department heads, Mayor, CEO, employees, and the public. Please provide this information electronically or provide me with a list of those documents that cannot be reproduced electronically.

Sund received an email response from Super Streeter dated September 23, Sund Public Records Request.   It includes 12 attachments. Items include:

  1. An April 21, 2016 email from Mayor Samuel to Department Heads and Public Works Lead
  2.  Streeter’s notes from meetings with Ashlee Sund and Chelsea Anthony
  3. Email from Streeter to Mayor Samuel and attachment (April 22)
  4. Email between Mayor Samuel and Vidette Editor Corey Morris (April 25). So cozy. – Ed
  5. Emails between Streeter, Mayor Samuel and Jim Pea (May 2)
  6.  Emails between Streeter, Mayor Samuel and Jim Pea (May 3)
  7. Email between Anthony, Streeter and Police Chief Vance (May 5)
  8. Text messages between Mayor Samuel and Streeter
  9. Lettter from Mayor Samuel to Anthony (May 4)
  10. Memo from Streeter to Sund (May 26)
  11. Email between Streeter and Sund (May 27)
  12. Email between Streeter, Mayor Samuel and Attorney Chris Coker “regarding upcoming union grievance related to lay-offs.”

Here they are.

In his response, Streeter says in part:

“This email constitutes the City’s acknowledgement of your request and an estimate of time reasonably required to respond to the request. RCW 42.56.520. All records are those in existence as of September 23, 2016.

We have identified the following in response to your request: (None have been redacted or withheld.) [Emphasis added – Ed.)
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In her sanctimonious missive of August 17 to Jim Pea, (see above), Mayor Samuel claims that Sund “was seen attempting to delete city records by the remaining city Senior Clerk and Mr. Streeter and she was put on Admin leave until end of employment term.”

That’s a pretty serious charge, allegedly witnessed by two people. The accusation appears in an official document signed by the mayor. There’s just one catch: at least one person cited by the mayor as a witness says otherwise.

In a September 25 phone interview Sund said, “When I got the letter from the union saying they were withdrawing the complaint I filed, the union included in the letter a copy of the email Mayor Samuel sent them accusing me of trying to delete city records. And that the senior clerk and CFO saw me attempting to delete city records. Samuel said that was why I was put on administrative leave.  Well, that was the first I heard of it.”

Sund continues:

I got a text message from (Senior Clerk) Kim Morey saying she did not say anything along those lines. She wrote a statement which she left on my door step saying she never said any such thing.

Kim said she confronted Doug (Streeter) about Vini’s accusation and said, ‘this is going on.’ Doug said he never said that, either. He sent an email to Vini saying that. But that email didn’t show up in his response to my public records request.

morey-letter

 

If you’re havin’ trouble reading that, let me help you out. It says:

I Kim Morey, Senior Deputy Clerk did not see Ashlee Sund deleting any city records on May 26, 2016.

It’s signed by Morey and dated September 2, 2016.

A Few Random-ish Observations:

The itemized list of documents provided by the city includes Streeter’s notes on his and the mayor’s meeting with the two clerks, Ashlee Sund and Chelsea Anthony, to inform said clerks that they were being “laid off.” The notes are dated April 21. See page 5.

There’s s no specific time stamp on the notes.  What’s interesting is that an email convo between Mayor Samuel and Vidette Editor Corey Morris is initiated by Samuel on the same day – April 21 – at 1:58 p.m. The subject is “Layoffs.” Nice.

The list also includes “Email from Doug Streeter to Mayor Samuel and attachment dated April 22, 2016.” It looks pretty dry at first glance. What it doesn’t specify – and this is kind of interesting – is the subject of said email. It’s “Budget issues for 2016.” Here’s where it gets kind of interesting. The subject line is “Talking Points.” Connect those dots.

Exit Questions, Observations:

  • If Streeter wrote an email to Mayor Samuel disputing Samuel’s written accusation regarding Sund, how come that email wasn’t included in the response to Sund’s public records request?
  • Included are text messages between Streeter and Samuel. Remember when Yours Truly requested city-related text messages from former council member Marisa Salzer? Uh-huh.
  • The text messages are dated April 21, April 28, April 29, May 2, May 5, and May 9. Dan Wood’s name appears in the April 21 email. See page 11.
  • The text convo appears to be incomplete. See page 12, which ends with a partial sentence. Where’s the rest of it?
  • Why is the CFO responding to public record requests? Isn’t that a union job? Hello, Teamsters?

Meanwhile, not that anyone’s keepin’ tabs or anything, but let’s see…. a city that’s so broke it can’t afford two deputy clerks. But it can scrape up the buckos to buy 320 acres of timberland that won’t generate any net revenue for at least a dozen years – for a cool $1.35M. Now this fire brigade.

Has Mayor Mayberry crossed over into:

 

 

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