Council Members routinely used private email accounts for City-related business.
Expansive Public Records Request during 2015 Council elections brought issue to fore.
One Council Member, acting as a private citizen, demanded emails on private account from another Council Member.
The City Attorney, paid for by tax dollars, became de facto attorney for the “private citizen” Council Member.
Two Council Members subsequently failed to produce emails from their private accounts.
One of the two Council Members failed to produce emails from her private account again in 2016 pursuant to a PRR.
Hillary Clinton’s email was a story that wouldn’t die in the presidential campaign, dogging her right through the Nov. 8 election.
The City of Sammamish has its own problems over emails. Council members routinely used private emails for city business and when it comes to complying with the Washington State law for Public Records Requests (PRR), some members aren’t always forthcoming with documents.
One City Council Member was explicit that a controversial topic should be discussed using private emails to avoid public disclosures through City emails.
The City Attorney’s position on compliance in responding to Public Records Requests appears inconsistent.
The issue is about transparency in government and complying with the law.
Requirements to hand over emails from personal accounts is well established in Washington State. A Bainbridge Island case is illustrative. See here and here.
How did two veterans of Sammamish public service lose their bids for election to the City Council in the Nov. 3 election to two unknown newcomers to the City?
They lost through a combination of miscalculation, arrogance, the split of traditional coalitions, angry opposition, tenacious newcomers and a one-term Council Member who wasn’t about to cower in the face of determined opposition.
They also had an unwitting helping hand from their own Deputy Mayor, whose obsessions galvanized the opposition to upset her allies.
This is the inside story of how Mayor Tom Vance lost to two-year resident Tom Hornish and how former Mayor and Council Member Mark Cross lost a comeback bid to a feisty young Mom in tennis shoes, Christie Malchow, invoking remembrances of another tennis shoe Mom campaign in Washington long before Malchow moved here.
Openness and transparency in Sammamish have taken another hit as Mayor Tom Vance and Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay appear to have withheld emails requested under
the State Public Records Act.
This is especially ironic because Huckabay, in a last-minute email and letter-writing campaign against Council Member Ramiro Valderrama, who is seeking reelection, and candidates Tom Hornish and Christie Malchow, has made openness and transparency her top point against these three.
Sammamish Comment filed a multi-part Public Records Request (PRR) August 27 in pursuit of several stories that subsequently were posted as information was developed through interviews and records. Included in that multi-part request was the following:
Subject: All emails from the City server and the personal email accounts:
relating any and all Public Records Requests of any kind to, from and/or between Tom Vance, Tom Odell and Kathy Huckabay on any subject.
City Clerk Melonie Anderson responded Thursday last week: