Mayor responds to Roegner’s column on ethics complaint

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell

It’s disappointing that in the Aug. 3 column by Bob Roegner, he decided to turn a routine and by-the-book convening of the ethics board into an unsubstantiated allegation of misconduct by our city and the mayor’s office.

To start with, resident Norma Blanchard’s ethics complaint centered around the allegation that Federal Way City Council member Martin Moore engaged in open “conflict” with his comments toward Deputy Mayor Susan Honda during the Jan. 2 city council meeting. There is no verse or chapter in the ethics code that pertains to “conflict” as a violation. Moore simply said he had a “lot of concerns” about Honda being elected deputy mayor.

His statement was not out of order, out of line with our council rules, and he even affirmed his willingness to work with her going forward several times.

At face value, the ethics complaint had no merit going forward, and that’s exactly what the ethics board concluded.

For Mr. Roegner to imply that political influence and intervention by my office played a role in Ms. Blanchard’s complaint not moving forward is outrageous and false.

To begin with, we use a standard media protocol at the city that is common among other cities similar in size to Federal Way. Media members request information or interviews and the city communications coordinators or public information officers facilitate the request. No city employee is ever required to submit to interview requests from a member of the media.

However, it seems Mr. Roegner believes he is above the protocol and can demand to have a confidential conversation with the city attorney whenever he wants and that he is entitled to all privileged information within City Hall.

Not only does Mr. Roegner have no grasp of traditional journalistic protocols, it is ludicrous to suggest – as he did in his column – that an ethics board complaint is none of the mayor’s office’s business. One would think he would know that; he is a former mayor (of Auburn).

We stated several times in our conversations with Mr. Roegner that City Attorney Ryan Call’s role in the ethics board process is one of an advisor. Additionally, Call also – as we clearly stated to Mr. Roegner – cannot discuss what he talked about with ethics board members in the executive session with the media. To do so would have been unethical.

And Mr. Call does not and cannot keep secrets from the mayor or any council members about issues involving the city – including ethical complaints. It is his job to keep us informed of any such issues.

In implying that the mayor’s office is “intercepting” interview requests when my staff is simply doing their jobs, Mr. Roegner is calling into question a proper process that has been in place for years.

In conclusion, this is yet another example of a columnist embellishing circumstances and hunting for instances of impropriety where there is nothing to be found.

The residents of Federal Way and the readers of the Federal Way Mirror deserve better.

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell

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