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WA. Supreme Court affirms Legislature is not above the law –
Further, Mayor Foster signed an agreement without Council’s knowledge/consent.
Officials circumnavigated the very citizens they took an oath to serve in both cases!!

Mayor JW Foster
Photo credit: City of Yelm

– Editor’s note:
The mayor is not exempt from public disclosure!
While the state’s high court has concluded the Legislature broke the law by attempting to amend an initiative without ever sending the proposed changes to voters, Mayor Foster still has not explained publicly why he unilaterally signed an Agreement for Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, on December 29, 2017.

Foster nor his staff have yet to present the public and the council the 38 page agreement, which was recorded by the city’s legal representative in Thurston County on January 3, 2018. WHY?
The mayor is not authorized by the Yelm Municipal Code (YMC) to discharge a property owner’s LID taxes default, nor accept the land in lieu of foreclosure, without a majority vote of the council.
The mayor is not exempt from public disclosure!
Click here for the 38 page document.

Mr. Foster, who’s interests are you representing:
A. the public’s you took an oath to represent, or,
B. the land owner’s “sensitivities” in arrears for their city LID tax payments?

Like the state court’s explanation to the Legislature, how can Foster unilaterally sign an agreement without informing his council and the public, nor having any pubic discourse on the city’s potential to take ownership of 640 acres of land in lieu of the land owner’s defaulted taxes? The public has a right to know who advised Foster to do this deal! Foster executed the agreement without full disclosure, did not seek to obtain city council approval, and kept this from the council for 6 months until a citizen asked a councilor about this deed!

Would the council have voted to purchase the Fairpoint Building and take on that loan debt if they had this information prior to that decision? One can now see how Foster’s unilateral actions have far-reaching ramifications!

– “With police-use-of-force initiative, high court affirms Legislature isn’t above the law”
“State lawmakers’ unconstitutional maneuvering with Initiative 940 may have been well intended. But by attempting to amend Washington’s law on police use of deadly force in this way, they ended up creating even more confusion for voters.

“Yet the justices were united in concluding one thing: That the Legislature broke the law by attempting to amend the initiative without ever sending the proposed changes to voters,” by The Seattle Times editorial board.
Read more

– What about the voter’s of Yelm – Who’s interest is the mayor representing?
Mayor Foster made only one comment about this as he closed the July 27, 2018 council session saying all of the details of the Deed in Trust” are “out there,” yet again did not include the 38-page aforementioned document, adding “the finality of that action we took should have been related to council at some point after that and we just didn’t do that. It’s an oversight on our part at the administrative level and we’ll take this a lesson learned on making sure we communicate about that.”

An oversight” and “we’ll take this a lesson learned on making sure we communicate about this?”
NOT good enough, Mr. Foster!
Mayor Foster MUST lead and present full public disclosure for his words to have merit!

Councilor DePinto noted that at the last council discussion on this item held July 26, 2016 [yes, correct day and year], the council motioned to give approval to enforce the city’s rights on this property and according to the council Minutes, he requested, “More information will be made available as time goes on regarding this matter.” Yet none was provided and the council knew nothing of this agreement holding 640 acres of land for 2 years in lieu of the property owner’s defaulted LID taxes, until 6 months after the agreement was signed.

The Yelm Protocol Manual (Chapter 2.01) provides guidance:
“It is important to note that the Council acts as a body. No member has any extraordinary powers beyond those of other members. When it comes to establishing policies, voting, and in other significant areas, all members are equal. It is also important to note that policy is established by at least a majority vote of the Council.”
Yet, Mayor Foster did not follow policy in by-passing the council’s authority in established “policies, voting, and in other significant areas” by signing this deal.
Click here

Current Status:
With the city potentially to become owner of 640 acres in case of owner default in December 31, 2019, and the LID tax revenue due the city being in question, Councilor Tad Stillwell requested at the September 4, 2018 council Study Session that a public learning session on the 640 acres to which the city holds a deed-in-lieu of LID foreclosure be conducted. Mayor Foster agreed to provide those details at the next study session (Oct. 2), however this needs to be presented in a public council meeting.
BRAVO to Councilor Stillwell!
At least someone took the lead on this important issue involving public trust, for the mayor’s leadership on this issue has been absent! That a councilor had to ask about this instead of the mayor being forthcoming, demonstrates he does not have the public’s interests first.

Posted by Steve on September 6, 2018 at 12:03 am | Permalink

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