Letters for week of June 26

Jun 26, 2013

‘Excellent’ story on Survival Capsule

Editor, The Beacon:

Thank you very much once again for an excellent representation of our product, program and progress [“1st survival capsule ships,” The Beacon, front page, June 19].

Please let me know if IDEA International can give a little back at any time.

Best regards,

Julian Sharpe

President/CEO

Survival Capsule LLC

Curb trip hazard finally fixed

I’d like to give a big THANKS to Cathy George from the state Department of Transportation and Nicole McIntosh from Washington State Ferries for initiating and completing the fix of the new sidewalk trip hazard at the ferry dock intersection.

What was a narrow opening between squared-off curbs at the crosswalks has now been replaced with a larger opening (the actual width of the crosswalk) and a smooth transition to the curb.

I’d also like to give a big thanks to Mayor Joe Marine, City Administrator Joe Hannan and recently retired Public Works Director Larry Waters because without their never ending “It can’t be done (unless I want it done)” attitude, I never would have gotten frustrated enough to seek help outside of Mukilteo.

Kevin Stoltz,

Mukilteo City Councilmember

Too many ‘suspicious’ calls to 911 – that aren’t

It would save a lot of the officers’ time if people would make sure a crime is being committed before calling 911 [“Police Beat,” The Beacon, page 9, June 19].

Week after week, I'm seeing ridiculous calls by nosy neighbors, such as "a suspicious vehicle is parked," when all they are doing is waiting on someone. Really!

Christopher Murray,

Mukilteo

Differing definitions of ‘due diligence’

The director of Public Works serves both as an engineer and director of staff and contractors engaged in execution of construction and maintenance projects for the city. “People skills” are as important as engineering skills for this position – ideally the successful candidate will have demonstrated excellence in both skills.

My concern expressed at the June 3 council meeting centered on the 2005 federal and civil lawsuits launched against Mr. McGaughey by not just one but two of his subordinate female employees when he was the Public Works director for Okanogan County. Mr. McGaughey was named as one of the defendants and was accused of sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliatory discharge.

These lawsuits were settled in favor of the plaintiffs shortly after Mr. McGaughey’s precipitous departure from this position on Feb. 1, 2006. I found out that no discovery had taken place, and settlement was swift and substantial.

In my opinion, a settled retaliatory dismissal/sexual discrimination/harassment case does not demonstrate excellence in managerial skills – it is a red flag and astonishingly five out of seven councilmembers deliberately chose to ignore the significance of this fact that warranted a delay in confirmation.

A fact that screamed for further investigation – the performance of due diligence.

I was not impressed with City Administrator Joe Hannan’s recitation of the “due diligence” he purported to perform, primarily because he was not forthcoming in data that was relevant.

For example, he emphasized that the cases had been “dismissed” as though there had been no substance to the allegations by the female employees.

Folks, these were not “nuisance lawsuits” as spuriously hinted at by Mr. Hannan – these were literally "federal cases" – substantive lawsuits with significant merit motivating the defendant to settle rather than litigate.

When you know you are going to lose, settlement is the way to go. The underlying case is dismissed with prejudice so that the defendant is protected from further litigation.

The mayor and five council members apparently felt satisfied that McGaughey would be a fine addition to city of Mukilteo staff. The only councilmembers voting to support a delay of confirmation for more fact-finding were Steve Schmalz and Kevin Stoltz.

As a taxpayer, I felt horrified. The city will have little defense having knowingly hired a person with this type of employment/litigation history.

I think the mayor and five confirming councilmembers should personally undertake to reimburse the taxpayers should Mr. McGaughey be named again as a defendant and end up on the loser side of the table.

Performance of appropriate due diligence would have revealed all of this data. This is the type of information that should have been made available to all councilmembers prior to the first time the mayor sought council confirmation of this appointment on May 20.

We need transparency in order to reach clarity in our municipal decision-making process. We need truthfulness from our city officials in order to sustain our trust in them.

Personally, my trust feels frayed, and I feel betrayed when a private citizen performs better due diligence than the elected and paid city officials.

Best regards,

Terry Preshaw,

City Council candidate,

Mukilteo

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