Cronyism is alive, well in Mukilteo | Letter

Jun 11, 2014

Editor, The Beacon:

Marko Liias's first day working for the city of Mukilteo began on May 27. Liias is now a full-time employee for the city making a salary of about $80,000 including benefits.

Liias is a state senator representing District 21 and is campaigning full force to be re-elected in the fall. His salary as senator is about $42,000 plus benefits.

It is not a secret that then-mayoral candidate Jennifer Gregerson was considering hiring Liias for a city staff job if she was elected mayor. I questioned her about it during the mayoral campaign, and she told me she would hire Marko if he was the best candidate for a job opening.

Marko and Jennifer are very close friends and always supported one another in their political campaigns. How can State Sen. Marko Liias represent the cities (Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mukilteo and south Everett) of the 21st District full-time and work at the city of Mukilteo full-time?

A state senator job requires 105 days in odd years and 60 days in even years spent in Olympia. How can Liias do his job for the city of Mukilteo in the executive department as a full-time employee if he is in Olympia as a state senator for up to 105 days?

Will working full time for the city of Mukilteo compromise his job for representing the others cities of the 21st District? Will Liias have to recuse himself from the Senate floor when bills that concern the city of Mukilteo come up in the Senate?

I have supported a lot the changes Jennifer has made in the city, but this is one decision that I cannot support as a citizen of Mukilteo. It is my hope that Jennifer reconsiders her decision on hiring State Sen. Liias.

If not, I hope the City Council will look at this conflict of interest and do their due diligence on this matter.

Christine Awad Schmalz,

Mukilteo

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