Firefighters of the Eastside Fire & Rescue District appear to be laying the case to sue the City of Sammamish for allegedly holding closed meetings when a city council appointed committee studied whether Sammamish should leave EF&R and create its own fire department.
The Sammamish Reporter has this story. The firefighters union include Sammamish Comment in its press release and documentation.
Press Release: 012314 Case builds against Sammamish officials in violating OPMA
The emails included with the press release were highly selective, and certainly indicate city officials were cognizant of the emails and data being subject to public scrutiny. It’s also clear from these highly selected emails that the city officials wanted to keep these emails and documents out of public hands.
One of the issues that emerged during public meetings was the lack of public participation and process throughout the time when the study was going on and how the city reached its decision. Certainly legal issues could be cloaked in Executive Sessions of the city council. But the process in how conclusions and decisions were reached had to stand up to public scrutiny, and the city fell down on this score.
There is another issue, however.
While the EF&R union accuses Sammamish of violating the Open Meetings Act, some city officials say the EF&R District officials also held closed-door meetings as they negotiated with Sammamish over altering the agreement that outlines the operation, funding and governance of EF&R.
The EF&R Board, led by an arrogant Issaquah, for years had refused to adjust the funding formula that placed an unfair burden on Sammamish taxpayers. Our city basically was left with no choice but to play hardball. I’m glad that in the end an accord was reached adjusting the funding, but I also supported the plan to leave EF&R if it wasn’t.
Other than making a point, I don’t know what the union’s activities hope to accomplish: Sammamish didn’t leave EF&R, a seven year agreement was reached and it’s time to move on.
If the EF&R wants to continue this feud, then I suggest Sammamish tackle the alleged backroom, smoke-filled rooms that appear to have permeated EF&R. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.