Marolee Smith, an unsuccessful candidate for city council attended the recent city council meeting and later filed this Ethics Violation charge against acting Mayor, Cherie Kidd. Smith ran against Michael Meridith who won the seat vacated by former mayor, Dan Di Giglio. Smith WAS NOT running against Kidd.
Marolee D. Smith
Port Angeles, WA 98362
February 4, 2016
City of Port Angeles
321 E 5th Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Jennifer Veneklasen, City Clerk
RE City Code Ethical Conduct 2.78.060 Filing a Complaint
I wish to file a complaint against Council Member Kidd for violations which occurred at the regular City Council Meeting on the night of February 2, 2016, for violations of Chapter 2.78 City of Port Angeles Code of Ethical Conduct.
Chapter 2.78.50 Role of Elected Officials, Paragraph J.says:
“General Standards of Conduct. Public officials shall comply with the laws, policies, rules, and procedures of the City.
Public officials shall not engage in any conduct or activities that reflect discredit on the public officials, tend to bring the city into disrepute, or impair its efficient and effective operation.
Public officials shall be honest, accurate, complete, and truthful in all matters dealing with citizens and with other City Council members.
Public officials shall refrain from abusive conduct, personal chargers, and verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other public officials, staff, or the public.
When in public, public officials shall explicitly state that any personal opinions do not represent the City.
No public official shall commit any act of moral turpitude or dishonesty relating to his or her duties or position as a public official. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude is conclusive evidence of a violation of this Code of Ethical Conduct. Public officials shall conduct themselves in a manner that will foster cooperation among citizens and members of this City Council, showing respect, courtesy, and professionalism in their dealings with one another.
Public officials shall not use language or engage in acts that demean, harass, or intimidate another person.
Public officials shall conduct themselves toward the public in a civil and professional manner that will foster public respect and cooperation.
Public officials shall not, unless expressly authorized, make any statements, speeches, or appearances that could reasonably be considered to represent the views of the city or the City Council.
2.78.060 – Filing a complaint.
A. A complaint alleging a violation of this Code of Ethical Conduct by a current or former public official shall be filed with the City Clerk.
1. The complaint must cite the specific violation of the Code of Ethical Conduct as defined in the section 2.78.050 PAMC.
2. The complaint must include the signature, mailing address, and contact telephone number of the individual submitting the complaint.
3. Any complaint filed shall be a record open and available to the public.
B. The City Clerk shall notify the City Council of the alleged complaint. At the next regular City Council meeting, the Council will assemble a Board of Ethics for disposition pursuant to the procedures set forth in section 2.78.070 PAMC.
(Ord. No. 3466, § 1, 11-6-2012)
Please find, commencing on page 3, my ethics complaint against Cheryl A. Kidd, Deputy Mayor/Council Position #7, City of Port Angeles, Clallam County, Washington State.
I was a witness to the events of the regular, scheduled Port Angeles City Council Meeting of February 2, 2016. It is my belief that Council Member Kidd acted inappropriately in eight (8) key ways, with the most egregious, the last that I have listed in this complaint. These instances of ethically challenged behavior were both punitive and belittling to the citizens of Port Angeles.
The ethics were violated in all of the following ways (as per City Code defined in sections 2.78.50 PMAC, paragraph J), as follows:
Signs prohibiting “posters not allowed in chambers” This is something that has never been prohibited, and the council has never voted on this new rule as a body. This seemed to have been targeted at specific members of the citizens of Port Angeles, to intimidate and harass, and restrict their freedom of speech.
Limited public comment to 30 minutes. Chapter 2.04 Council Meetings 2.04.010 Time says that “public hearings will be scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm, or as soon thereafter as possible.” It continues on that “regular meetings shall conclude at 10:00 pm, provided that the City Council may, upon motion, continue to meet past that hour upon terms upon the agenda not considered prior to 10:00pm” In this case, the entire schedule was dictated by Ms. Kidd. The time, the sequence, and the duration were altered with herself as sole arbiter. In fact, the online posted meeting schedule (by the city) did not reflect the changes.
Nowhere in Chapter 2.04, does it say that public hearings will be started sometime after 6:00pm, and concluded AT precisely 6:30pm.
The public comments section of the meeting was rushed, and then, abruptly terminated. With the meeting “closed” (prematurely) by repeated banging of the gavel and Ms. Kidd proclaiming “this meeting is adjourned” without consent of all members of the council, without a second to her motion.
This happened, even though there remained a full roster of public comment had not been exhausted, (and all had waited throughout the meeting until the second comment period).
Nowhere in Chapter 2.04 is this outlined as regular business procedure. Nor is it in keeping with Roberts Rules of Order in which neither the time of adjournment had been reached, nor had any motion been set forth, nor was it entertained by general consent.
According to Roberts Rules “Before putting the motion to adjourn, the chair, should be sure that no important matters have been overlooked” “…members should not leave their seats until the chair has declared the assembly adjourned”.
I believe that Ms. Kidd has a poor grasp of Roberts Rules of Order, and therefore should not be the Deputy Mayor, or Acting Mayor.
Conduct or activities that reflect discredit on the public officials and bring the city into disrepute or impair its efficient and effective operation.
Ms.Kidd acted in a way that was disgraceful and embarrassing to the city, its residents, the city staff, and the fellow council members.
This is impacted by the fact that the meeting was both recorded (by the city) and by Clallam Public Eye, as well as by numerous cell phones with video capabilities.
The naked nature of the outrage with modern media could have a severe and negative impact upon the city.
Abusive Conduct, Verbal Attacks
Ms.Kidd engaged in harassment of each speaker in the public comment period. She was belittling, harassing, and rude. Her gavel pounding was excessive. She frequently spoke over the summation remarks. She was inaccurate in her “3 minute” timing, repeatedly. When this was pointed out she became verbally combative, banging the gavel and speaking very loudly — threatening.
Failed to conduct in a manner that would foster cooperation among citizens and members of the city council, showing respect, courtesy and professionalism.
Ms. Kidd was rude to several of the city council members, ignored them completely, and throughout the meeting was loudly banged the official gavel. Council Member Meredith covered his ear and winced. Ms. Kidd did not seem to take notice.
This was not the respected leader of a council meeting. These were proclamations of grandiose ultimatums.
To the citizens of Port Angeles, Ms. Kidd was downright threatening and rude. Her demeanor was harsh and shrill. It was not courteous, nor professional in any way.
It was an embarrassment.
Engaged in abusive conduct and verbal attacks upon the character or motives of the public.
When Ms. Kidd cut off public comment at the conclusion of the meeting, it was because of what she considered to be “inappropriate” “uncivil” and then proclaimed “this meeting is now adjourned”, and again banged the gavel. Although, while standing, she then said “we can continue, if you can be civil”. So it was a mixed message, confusing, as she was standing, and scolding. It was also after she had proclaimed the meeting “dismissed”, without protocol. Then, Ms.Kidd gathered her things, and walked out.
This caused the patient people in the audience to become upset and express opinions. There were some arguments in the audience. There were catcalls and boos. However, Ms. Kidd solicited these, by her irrational acts.
It became an unstable situation, made slightly better by Councilman Whetham stepping up and encouraging public comment to continue. The amount of chaos was evident, in that the Mayor, who was on the phone, had been left hanging. Half of the council remained seated; two council members (Kidd and Gase) stormed out. One (Collins) hung back in the door way. The staff remained seated.
This was a complete breakdown of the council process and procedures.
As a public official Ms. Kidd engaged in acts that demeaned, harassed and intimidated another person.
In this case, each person who spoke was subjected to her unofficial “timing”, interruptions, disruption of their speech and thought, and then, they were spoken over. She threatened to end all comments if the audience continued to clap in support of a speaker. She threatened to have people thrown out.
This was clear harassment and intimidation.
And, perhaps the most egregious, as a public official Ms.Kidd did NOT conduct herself toward the public in a civil or professional manner, and did NOT foster public respect and cooperation.
In fact, immediately after this theatric hissy-fit more than 70 people signed a petition to change the form of government, several said they wouldn’t have prior to the insanity that they had witnessed. A number of people have lost faith in the governmental process in Port Angeles. Public respect was NOT fostered.
People did not leave, because Ms. Kidd left, and the “meeting” continued for, at least, 30 minutes. This was a clear sign of disrespect of the exit by the acting Mayor. People were defiant. Public cooperation was not encouraged.
The citizens came away feeling angry, upset, and insulted. This was not behavior becoming of a public official.
It was not professional.
It did not foster public respect – as evidenced by Ms. Kidd engaging with angry audience members, and attempting to shame them before her early departure.
I request that, pursuant to Section 2.78.080 PAMC that a Board of Ethics be assembled and that the issues with Council Member Kidd be addressed, post haste. Witnesses are many – all who signed up for public comment, and the many in the audience, as well as all of the seated staff, and the other council members present.
I would hope that the Board of Ethics will convene, and, review these grave injustice and transgressions that Ms.Kidd has inflicted upon the citizens of Port Angeles.
Please, let our voices be heard. Admonish Reprimand, Censure, and, respectfully, please remove Ms.Kidd from the position of Deputy Mayor.
Marolee D. Smith