And issue an ‘order’ to the Public Records Officer to DESTROY PUBLIC RECORDS that are by statute to be retained?
Is the altering and destruction of an official public record, in this case a formally approved performance evaluation of the fire chief, which by Washington State law is legally subject to retention in its original form, along with any modifications, allowed by simple motion of the board of commissioners to be altered and records destroyed?
Four of the five commissioners took an extreme measure to remove what appears to be one phrase from the evaluation regarding age and retirement, (although it now exists as a permanent record of the recent meeting), and attempted to ensure it was deleted from the evaluation and the districts files and records.
The meeting is posted in two parts of raw video, before and after executive session, on YouTube and the pertinent motion identifying the record and advocating what I consider to be its illegal alteration and destruction is after executive session, starting at about 1:30 through 2:30 although you may want to watch it from the beginning for accurate context.
Part two, after executive session: see pertinent portion starting at about 1:30 into the video
Part one, prior to executive session:
Riddle me this:
The Public Records Officer is so titled because they are the employee responsible for upholding the laws that make up the Washington State Public Records Act. While they may seek advice from the district attorney, can not they be held personally liable of BREAKING the law if they in fact are the person charged with willful destruction of retentive documents?
Just because four idiots of commissioners and their never-been-right-on-a-critical-matter attorney want to pacify a tyrannical boss does not indemnify the Public Records Officer from resisting the illegal demand to destroy or alter without retention those public documents to which they are entrusted to maintain.
The commissioners paid themselves for another meeting this evening, this time it was a “Special Meeting” at which they took turns publicly attacking Commissioner Mark Freitas for supposed past slights.
Apparently all for the sole goal of sanitizing the fire chiefs annual evaluation of one line regarding age, chairman Bill Gates and his pit bull vice-chair Jim Fossos nearly wet themselves to make motions that did nothing for the good of the district and much to show the public exactly how small they are.
Performing as trained monkeys, and poorly trained ones at that, they went out of their way during the last Legal Committee meeting to draft outrageous motions that wiggled all over the place so that each could present a motion, neatly choreographed to be seconded by the other, to call for censuring of Commissioner Mark Freitas.
The motion of censure was so ill-conceived that the districts attorney, usually their willing lackey to their chicanery, had advised them in executive session that it was a retaliatory motion and should not be made. But no, they were hell bent to ridicule to the max tonight.
I am working on posting the videos so you can see who at the table excels in disrespect at every turn, which explains why, as the master in bullying, he is so quick to accuse others of the merest slight.
Beginning of the “Special Meeting”
Second portion of Special Meeting – after Executive Session
Thanks for reading
If you were to violate the conditions of your license, get a DUI maybe, would your boss break out his business account to pay for your attorney?
To the tune of $20 grand?
Well, into your wallets the fire district plunged.
While I thought the discipline meted out by the district should have been more than sufficient, the Department of Health (DOH) disagreed. Apparently there was good cause for an investigation according to DOH, because they imposed strict probation and other conditions on Fire Fighter Brandon Church.
Now open your wallet. Back in August of 2013 the board of commissioners voted 4-1 to use your taxes to defend FF Church.
Since he was not the least bit worried about how much it cost, knowing it wasn’t coming out of his pocket, FF Church felt damned comfortable squeezing every dime possible from you. And that he did.
Must be nice to have the deep pockets of taxpayers, friends on the board of commissioners and your dad as the chief everyone is trying to please.
Aren’t you glad you re-elected Bill Gates for another term of waste.
Whats next? And how much will it cost us?
Did the ‘legal committee’ summarily turn down revenue?
Money flushed down the sewer.
Remember that property sitting at 320th that the district says they bought years ago, supposedly to build a training facility on? (The real goal is a multi-million dollar administration complex, but more on that later)
Well, it is costing tax dollars every single day. Enough to put at least two full time firefights on the street.
A few weeks ago, a private developer approached the district seeking a sewer easement. This would have no adverse affect on the value or use of the land.
And I think that would have given the district cash. Easements of this kind are usually granted after negotiations that benefit the property owner.
Without approaching the full board of commissioners, two commissioners quietly met with the chief, assistant chief and presumably legal counsel to refuse the money.
If the offer had been discussed in an open public meeting, the other commissioners could have weighed in as well and any concerned citizens. But lack of openness and accountability are redundant hallmarks of this department.
Here is a thought about the new administration building.
I think they are laying the groundwork for approaching the taxpayers for $60 to $75 million in the form of a capital levy.
At the special meeting with the legislator, at which again only two commissioners attended, comments about the sad state of the training facility in Snoqualmie were mentioned. Something may be in the works sooner than later.
From the minutes:
“This facility does not meet the needs of training new firefighters.”
Meanwhile, in other news.
Not sure what this is about, but suffice to say your tax dollars will be wasted on it, again.
The district eagerly convened an executive session yesterday, with action likely.
Apparently, Chief Church has filed a formal complaint against Commissioner Freitas. Complaint against Freitas
So the public does not get wind of the details, there was no discussion in the open public meeting, just a motion made by Commissioner Gates and a rapid 4-0 vote to approve hiring an outside attorney to investigate. Under the careful guidance of our own Joe Quinn. Methinks that might have been illegal.
And so the public does not get to know the details until after the conclusion of the investigation, I am sure the district deliberately hired an attorney for the investigation so they could try to use the cloak of attorney/client privilege.
Wonder what has the chiefs panties in a bunch. Does it have anything to do with the fact that Comm. Freitas has been the lone vote against hiring taxpayer funded legal defense for the chief’s son?
Will provide details as they become available.
Anyone able to shine a light on this waste of tax dollars?
Balance of money verses accountability.
Apparently, your electorate doesn’t want to be accountable if instead he can spend your tax dollars on extra personnel.
Here is what Commissioner James A Fossos thinks about getting an email from you, the taxpayer, citizen, constituent.
The audio is not very good, (Fossos-email) but here is a summary of what he said at the board meeting Thursday.
- Galland has given out my department email address.
- I have received some emails on my department email address.
- I immediately deleted those emails.
- I did not open them or read them.
- They were offensive emails.
- I am not sure how they got through our firewall, or even if we have one.
- I want to talk with our attorney about them.
So, when a constituent emails Commissioner James A Fossos at his department issued email address, he not only ignores it, he simply deletes your emails and then calls them ‘offensive‘. Not even bothering to find out if the writer has a legitimate concern or serious question, he swiftly terminates all communication with the ‘Delete’ key.
Commissioner Fossos says “It is my honor and privilege to serve as your Fire Commissioner.” But don’t you dare try to contact him!
Then there is this
At the same meeting that this email dissertation was revealed, the district voted 4-1 on spending tens of thousands of dollars to hire a Community Affairs Officer (CAO). Community Affairs Officer
Under the auspices of improving communication with the public.
What? When the most logical communication method would be first hand, and direct, your commissioners bow down to the chief’s desire to spend more money on additional non-essential clerical staff. And simply delete your emails.
Using the department email address, just try to ask Commissioner Fossos a question. Let me know if you get an answer. I have started it for you with some sample text, simply edit it to say anything you want.
Here is the Tracy Vedder report on EMT Brandon Church
Taxpayers Paying to Defend EMT accused of hitting on patient.
Lindsay is not pursuing legal action, apparently much to the surprise of many commenting here.
Some seem to be failing to read the story or listen to the video before commenting.
Far from vilifying her, I applaud her strength that she went on camera for this story.
The EMT’s actions however beg some questions.
Do you really think this is the first time EMT Church contacted a patient? Or just the first time he was caught? Are there others that felt violated that were afraid to come forward?
We have seen many cases where a single complaint made public resulted in many reluctant victims coming forward. Time will tell.
As mentioned by NWFreeman: “NOT reporting the discipline to the Department of Health is what got him in trouble with his license.”
On March 12, 2012 South King Fire & Rescue EMT Brandon Church, son of SKF&R Fire Chief Allen Church, was found guilty of professional “misconduct” during a department investigation conducted by fire department employees that serve at the pleasure of the chief. This investigation should have been turned over to an outside agency, like the Department of Health, to remove any perception of favoritism or nepotism. But for some reason the fire department chose to keep it internal.
(BTW, to address when and how did the EMT got her telephone number.
In that investigation, the treating EMT’s said they knew her telephone number but decided not to call her before going back to her unlocked and unoccupied home to retrieve a piece of medical equipment they left there. So he really had no need to ask for it on FB.)
EMT Church received what most consider severe discipline for his actions. That is not the root of the issue here.
This is. Part of his discipline was a one year probation.
A condition of employment for all firefighters at SKF&R is current and valid EMT license.
Less than nine months later, in October/November 2012, while on probation for unprofessional conduct, EMT Church was required to renew his EMT license. One of the questions asked if he had been found guilty of any violation of his license. Brandon Church answered NO.
DOH requires they be notified when any licensee has violated their license. Both the fire department and the licensee have less than one month from the finding of violation to make that notification. When the DOH was asked for their records in July of 2013, they were not aware of any issues with his license.
DOH then opened an investigation. Possibly regarding the page where Brandon Church signed under penalty of perjury that the application is true and accurate to the best of his knowledge.
In August 2013, the board of commissioners held a Special Meeting with a 4-1 vote
“Commissioner Fossos making a motion, I move that the South King Fire & Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners approve retaining Patterson, Buchanan, Fobes & Leitch to represent Brandon Church in his official capacity as a District firefighter in the pending Department of Health investigation. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Thompson. Motion passed 4-1 with Commissioner Freitas voting in opposition.”
Fire district attorney Joe Quinn said there’s been no special treatment and the chief has not been involved in his son’s discipline. But every employee who was involved serves at the pleasure of the chief. So they were all fair and reasonable, right?
And what has the chief to lose? How about the possibility of a $340,000 severance check the commissioners granted him during a financial crisis at the same time the district was laying off firefighters?
Read the actual investigation into EMT Church here:
Decide if EMT Church committed perjury. Read question 7 on page 5 of his DOH renewal application here:
Minutes of the special meeting here
South King Fire & Rescue fire commissioners make political gaff in public meeting at agency.
Listen to Commissioner Fossos reference political event at 1:00 to 1:30, then go on to try making policy about tracking who attends meetings.
Then Commissioner Gates proudly speaks of the same political event starting at about 6:50 thru 7:15 before being politely interrupted with a very pointed and telling question from another commissioner.
I am not the only one that was astounded at the violation of using public resources for political purposes.
As an aside, the question was asked about making a months old adopted amended budget public. It was adopted at the April 23, 2013 meeting. So why does Commissioner Gates make such a big deal about it being, incorrectly, adopted in May? He went out of his way to wave his copy around and condescendingly say look here, it was May. WRONG!
*The evening before this budget meeting, a candidate forum was held for those seeking local offices. Commissioner Gates is running for re-election and spoke at the forum.
Bear with the length. I have been wrongly accused of editing. This is the first nine and a half minutes of a two hour meeting, uncut, unedited.
First 9.5 minutes of the October 15th budget meeting
An amazing, and extremely suspicious, thing occurred at the 2014 Budget hearing Tuesday.
The entire administration of your fire department made several disconcerting efforts to keep you from finding out about the budget.
Each employee of the district was given personalized copies of the draft budget, each bearing their name as a watermark on every page.
Why? So the could keep track of who* leaked a copy to the public! Listen to the ‘explanation’ starting at about 3:20 in this video.
It has several other troubling aspects if you know what to listen for and pay attention.
Who got what and why?
Because the district took this unprecedented effort, the real question is were all copies the same?
Did the copy with Commissioner Gates’ name match the copy with Commissioner Freitas?
Was the copy the firefighter picked up the same as the copy the IT guy was given?
How about the copy on my chair? Does it match up with the CFO? Or was it missing pages? Were paragraphs changed? Are the numbers exactly the same as the rest?
Then there was the misdirection about when the 2013 amended budget was adopted.
Until Tuesday the district was secret about their current budget, only allowing the public to see the outdated October 2012 version.
But District records show that on April 23, 2013, there was a motion made, and unanimously passed, to adopt an amended 2013 budget.
Unless you were at the proper meeting, or checking on the meeting agendas and minutes, you did not know thousands of dollars in changes were made.
And why is Commissioner Gates carrying and waving around a May 2013 budget everywhere he goes? Where the hell did that come from? Listen to his comments, which are starkly counter to the truth shown in the meeting minutes, in this video starting at 8:40
*If you want to read one version of the latest proposed budget draft (right? wrong? tainted?), I have uploaded what was on my chair here: 2014 Budget
So much for open and accountable government. Instead we see furtive actions that raise serious questions.
Or are they classifying them as junk mail?
Thank you for reading my column.
I want to address those who have been using my blog to contact the commissioners.
When you clicked on the links to send them an email, you saw there was already some text in the subject line and body of the email.
That way, you could simply express your thoughts quickly and add to the email any details you wanted, a commonly used convenience.
But rumor has it your commissioners may be jumping to wrong conclusions about who is contacting them. Because the subject and body all start off the same or similar, I think some commissioners thought all of the emails were not from independent readers.
Hopefully they quickly realized that some of their other constituents were reaching out for answers and the commissioners were able to address your questions and concerns.
If you have not heard back, then maybe they still think the emails are coming from me, just using different addresses. My apologies for the confusion.
Since I rarely receive a reply to a direct email other than records request, if you sent any of your commissioners an email, and want to share it, please let me know. Especially if you received a reply you are willing to share.
Hopefully you received an answer. However, if some time has passed without a reply, then let me know that also.
Ask Jerry a question
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Thanks for staying informed and following my blog,