Officials Discuss Foster’s Authority to Independently Obtain Deed of 640 Acres Within Killion Road LID –
Foster’s 2017 Action Encumbered City by Over $3 Million in Delinquent Assessment Payments on Behalf of the LID
Regardless of council’s direction for the mayor to move forward to resolve the L.I.D. debt, they were not presented with a contract for approval. The law states all contracts must be approved in a public council meeting. In Yelm’s case, any contract over $35,000 must be authorized in by the council in public to prevent a single person from misappropriating taxpayer money.
Foster said in the NVN story “a couple of people are crying foul” and he doesn’t “know what their problem is.” The “problem” is that Mayor Foster circumvented the legal process! No legal advisor would have told him to bypass his requirements to obtain public council authorization for any contract over $35,000, which he should know. Stephen DiJulio, Yelm’s Seattle-based special projects counsel for the 640 acre deed and Killion Road LID, understood his firm had council’s authorization to proceed on the contract. Who from the city conveyed that, as council’s contractual authority did not exist? The Yelm Protocol Manual states, “It is staff’s responsibility to ensure the policy of the Council is upheld.” That includes the mayor, city administrator, and department supervisors actions to ensure the laws are followed.
The council gave former Mayor Harding the authority to examine getting this L.I.D. debt situation rectified in July 2016. Foster became mayor after Harding resigned the following month. As mayor, Foster never publicly provided the council and his constituents a plan for the L.I.D. investigation, never provided any updates on the contract’s negotiations and preparation, never notified the council about the contract signing nor the documentation, and never explained the debt payment schedule to the council prior to signing. Foster unilaterally signed this $3 million contract without the council’s public approval. Only 6 months after the signing, when asked about this deal by Councilor DePinto after being notified by a citizen, did the mayor finally acknowledge what had been done.
Mayor Foster had ample opportunities over the years to explain his move with this contract, having been asked at multiple council sessions that he never adequately answered. Why the subterfuge?
Yes, “a couple of people are crying foul” because abrogating the legal process is a serious matter. Foster took an oath to uphold the laws of the State of Washington and the City of Yelm, yet he abrogated regulations granting council’s sole authority to approve large contracts, and has not been transparent. That’s the “problem!”
Michelle Obama said: “Being President Doesn’t Change Who You Are, It Reveals Who You Are.”
Yelm has also learned: Being Mayor Doesn’t Change Who You Are, It Reveals Who You Are!
UPDATE: December 15, 10pm:
- Last month, City Administrator Michael Grayum had been suggesting the city council use the American Rescue Plan Act funds slated for Yelm, to pay off the L.I.D. assessments on the 640 acres.
- However, the L.I.D. contract that Mayor Foster signed did not receive the council’s required approval, which puts the legality of the contract in question.
- Yet on November 23, the council approved using American Rescue Plan Act funds to pay off the L.I.D.
- Federal money (American Rescue Plan Act funds) can not be used to pay contracts that are knowingly improper.