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Special investigative report :
Has Yelm’s city council abdicated their authority to appropriate?

Story Highlights

  • Mayor, City Administrator NOT authorized to approve labor contracts – only the council does so!
  • Yelm’s Protocol Manual says council approves labor contracts,
  • Chapter 2.02 A, 6b: Council authorized to “Establish bargaining parameters and approve final labor contracts,”
  • Yelm’s Municipal Code says the mayor appoints Department Heads, and City Administrator “shall supervise, administer, and coordinate the activities and functions of all city officers, departments, commissions and boards to implement city ordinances and policies.”
  • Mayor Foster unilaterally approved, and signed a labor contract with a recruitment firm for an interim Public Works Dir., against city policy. And there is no specified time limit in paying this contractor!
  • City Administrator Grayum signed 2 labor contracts without obtaining council’s approval, all against city policy (see below).
  • A new job position and salary for a Communications Assistant was created without notifying council.
  • The mayor will eventually appoint persons for the open positions of Public Works Dir. and Accounting Dir., yet only the council authorizes bargaining parameters and final labor contract approvals.
  • The time has come for the city council to hold Yelm Executive branch accountable for continuing to not follow city policy.
  • Or, has Yelm’s council abdicated their authority to appropriate?

The Facts

  • On November 18, 2018, City Administrator Grayum signed a labor contact with then-independent contractor Andrew Kollar’s media company. This labor contract not sent to the council for approval. Click here
  • On March 29, 2019, Mr. Kollar was subsequently hired to fill the city’s newly opened position, Communications Assistant, which was publicly advertised only on the city’s website and for only one week, prior to Kollar’s being hired. This was a newly created job and not an appointment in back-filling a vacant post. He was employed per the city’s labor union contract for staff approved by the city council. Yet the newly created post and salary was not sent to the council for approval, nor was council informed publicly of Kollar being hired by the city. Council only learned about this from Kollar’s interview with the The Olympian on April 1, 2019, his first day on the job in this official capacity. Click here
  • On October 14, 2019, Mayor Foster signed a labor contract with the Prothman Company, an executive talent recruitment firm, for an Interim Public Works Director. This was done without informing and obtaining the council’s consent and authorization. Click here
  • On October 22, 2019, City Administrator Grayum signed a labor contact with former Public Works Director Chad Bedlington, who agreed to resign and received a severance package from the city. This labor contract was done without informing and obtaining consent from the city council. Click here

Bottom Line

Has Yelm’s council abdicated their authority to appropriate?

Yet the mayor and city council all took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and the laws of the State of Washington, and City of Yelm.

The City of Yelm’s Oath of Office of office taken by elected officials states in-part, “I will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of City Council Member of the City of Yelm to the best of my ability.”

I suggest that the Yelm city council MUST hold Yelm’s Executive branch (mayor, city administrator) accountable for continuing to not follow city policy and that all of these elected officials (mayor, city council) need to adhere to their oath of office.

Posted by Steve on December 3, 2019 at 12:10 am | Permalink

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