City’s emergency manager transferred amid controversy

By Miki Mullor
Editor

The Sammamish emergency preparedness manager was transferred to Fire District 10 on March 2 amid controversy that goes across a broad spectrum. The transfer is unrelated to the Coronavirus outbreak.

  • Complaint of harassment and political retaliation levied against council member Pam Stuart by the City’s Emergency Preparedness Manager employee, Andrew Stevens.
  • Stuart subsequently levied a charge of making a threat against Stevens.
  • Stuart complains of Stevens’ wife’s involvement in a Facebook election-oriented group and being “very mean.”
  • Roots date to 2015 during the administration of then-Mayor Tom Vance and then-city manager Ben Yazici, when neglect and equipment failure was revealed.
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City Staff Secretly Meets With King County On Growth

By Miki Mullor
Editor

Sammamish staff took deliberate steps to keep a meeting with county officials secret in order to avoid public records requests, Sammamish Comment discovered.

The meeting involved discussion to set growth targets for Sammamish. 

Staff-to-staff meetings aren’t typically public. They aren’t announced on government websites, meeting notices aren’t issued and the public isn’t invited to attend. But it’s highly unusual that a government takes steps to keep the meeting secret from public records.

Sammamish did just that over a meeting last month. Calendar entries for Sammamish staffers didn’t list the purpose of the meeting. A voice mail specifically detailed the motive to avoid public records requests.

Ironically, The Comment obtained the entries and voice mail under a public records request and was nevertheless able to piece together the purpose of the meeting and the motive for hiding it.

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Unfettered development vs controlling it is the only issue in this election

By Scott Hamilton

Commentary

Sept. 20, 2019: It is now clear that the Sammamish City Council election this year has come down to one issue: unfettered development across the city vs controlling development so it doesn’t further overwhelm the roads and aggravate the congestion that already exists.

All other issues have taken a back seat.

If you support unfettered development, Karen McKnight, Rituja Indapure and Karen Howe are your choices for council.

If you want to control development and moderate traffic congestion, Christie Malchow, Kent Treen and Ken Gamblin are your choices.

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“You don’t hate someone you know” – Police Chief Bennett’s parting advice to the community

By Kimberly Siegel-Wolf

Major Michelle Bennett

Sammamish is recognized as one of the safest cities in the United States and the safest in the state of Washington.  Responsible for law enforcement in Sammamish for the last three years was Chief Michelle Bennett, who was recently promoted within the Sheriff’s department and thus is leaving Sammamish. 

The Sammamish Comment sat down with Chief Bennett for one last interview before she moves on. 

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City-YMCA deal was sole-source, no-bid contract, no Requests for Proposals issued

By Scott Hamilton

Analysis

Sept. 16, 2019: The agreement between Sammamish and the YMCA for the latter to run the community center was the result of a sole-source, no-bid contract.

No Request for Proposals was issued that would compete management of the center.

The contract between Sammamish and the YMCA was a sole-source, no-bid arrangement. No Requests for Proposals were issued. A Sammamish businessman wanted to bid. City of Sammamish photo.

An offer by a Sammamish health club owner to submit a bid that would return 15% of the gross receipts to the city didn’t even get a hearing.

One of the leading advocates throughout the years for the YMCA was a city council member who also sat on the YMCA board, a clear conflict of interest that was ignore by the city administration and a successive series of city councils. (This member was off the council in 2012-13, when the votes were held.)

The YMCA was fundamentally the only entity supported by the city for nearly a decade before a contract was negotiated.

These lie at the roots of the current controversial examination of the city’s management contract with the YMCA that sees the agency siphoning off $1.4m a year to the Greater Seattle YMCA rather than keeping the money in Sammamish or sharing the profits with the city’s general fund.

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