Can full-time Thurston County Deputy Auditor and
Yelm Mayor Ron Harding “impartially” execute his oath of elective office?
The following letter was sent by this writer on March 15 to Thurston County Auditor Gary Alexander and copied to the Thurston County Commissioners and the Yelm City Council. The letter was a public document on the Yelm City Council’s Agenda on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, yet not discussed by the Council:
Dear Rep. Alexander,
The City of Yelm’s Oath of Office of office taken by elected officials partially states,
“I will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of City Council Member of the City of Yelm to the best of my ability.”
I am writing to bring to your attention that Deputy Auditor Ron Harding in his role as Mayor of Yelm has an appearance of a conflict-of-interest by directing the Yelm City Council to vote on issues between Yelm and Thurston County, as was the case on Tuesday, March 12.
With all of the City Council members aware that Mr. Harding is Thurston County Deputy Auditor, he can not “impartially perform duties of City Council Member of the City of Yelm.” Just the fact that Harding is employed as a County executive carries a subconsciousness intimidation factor that may prohibit a free exchange of discussion amongst Council members about Thurston County issues on their agenda”
“From here on, Mr. Harding should recuse himself on any and all Thurston County matters that come before the Yelm City Council and vise-versa, for now that he is a the County’s full-time Deputy Auditor, his actions should reflect the accountability and stature of the County’s Auditor’s office.