The “Most Popular” Nisqually Valley News story in the online edition this week is titled:
“Mayor Criticized for Council Appointment”
“Harding Casts Deciding Vote: Mayors Wife Works For New Councilors Husband”
where Mr. Harding attempts to deflect attention away from his very high-profile faux-paux.
The community is awakening to Mayor Harding’s many conflicts of interest during his tenure because the newspaper’s Op-Ed states:
“Harding Should Have Recused Himself From Vote”
“The problem in the appointment of Littlefield, however, is that Hardings wife works for Littlefields husband.
Harding, in defending his vote, said the criticism comes from his nemesis Steve Klein, who ran against the mayor in 2005. Klein certainly does take on the mayor on many issues on his popular Yelm Community Blog.
This past week Klein wrote, ‘If Mr. Harding is to be trusted by the voters in his quest for higher political office, he is going to have to cease practices that are not in the publics interest. While his actions may go unchallenged in his Yelm Fiefdom, this kind of action will not play well for him in a county or state position.’
We dont know about Hardings aspirations for higher office. We do know that the higher up one goes in politics, the more scrutiny they get.
Harding is correct in his assessment that Klein has a long history opposing the mayors actions, but the criticism is also coming from many other quarters in Yelm. Several people contacted the Nisqually Valley News stating Harding should have recused himself. We join in that position.”
“…an association with a community member is markedly different from an association with someone you sleep with at night, get up with in the morning, and someone you balance the checkbook with.
Harding further deflected criticism, stating he doesnt even know Littlefields husband. We counter that Hardings wife certainly does.
We consider a husband and wife to be a package deal and Harding should ponder his statement ‘Now, if I worked for her, that would be maybe a conflict of interest ‘
We do believe, as most public servants, Harding deeply cares for his community. He is also a gentleman in his everyday dealings.
The vote is done. We do have a qualified councilor in Littlefield. On this vote, however, we believe Harding tarnished himself and opens himself up for increased scrutiny.”