Mayor-council proposal leaves a trail of money

Federal Way residents Frosty and Gayla Hardison review the rules of debate with moderator Susan Kovalik on Jan. 16. The Hardisons spoke in favor of changing Federal Way
Federal Way residents Frosty and Gayla Hardison review the rules of debate with moderator Susan Kovalik on Jan. 16. The Hardisons spoke in favor of changing Federal Way's form of government to include an elected mayor.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror


While the debate over an elected mayor carried itself out in the public arena Jan. 16, those representing each side of the issue wished to keep their organization’s funding out of the public scope.

Frustration built at the debate after the revelation that Accountability Comes to Town (ACT), the organization that collected enough signatures to initiate a special election on the elected mayor issue, had a minimal presence at the event.

Frosty and Gayla Hardison, who represented the pro side of an elected mayor at the debate, disassociated themselves from ACT.

ACT is the force behind the special election, which is costing the city and its residents, said Barbara Reid, Federal Way Works chairwoman.

Representatives from ACT should have attended the debate and followed through on their initiative, she said.

“This is going to cost the city a lot of money,” Federal Way citizen Larry Jackson said at the debate.

ACT head Roy Parke and member Dave McKenzie both wished to attend the debate, but had prior obligations, they said respectively via e-mail Jan. 17. Parke’s job took him to California and he had hoped to reschedule the debate. McKenzie had a previously scheduled homeowners association meeting.

Cost of the election and high-profile donors:

To date, the city has spent money to put the issue on a Feb. 19 special ballot.

The estimated cost has been approximately $50,000. This includes $8,900 to $14,000 for the voters pamphlet, City Attorney Pat Richardson said. King County estimates the cost for the special election would have been approximately $147,000 if the elected mayor issue were the only thing placed on the ballot.

Attempts to learn how much money ACT and Federal Way Works are spending in support of their respective viewpoints were met with resistance.

Federal Way Works does not want ACT knowing how much money it is collecting or what will be done with that money, Reid said.

Both groups have collected significant funding from Federal Way residents, officials and businesses. In support of ACT are Casey and Wendy Treat, who own and operate Christian Faith Center in Federal Way. A $500 donation was made by the couple, according to the Public Disclosure Commission Web site, A total of $2,000 has been collected from Federal Way and Tacoma businesses and residents, according to the site.

In support of Federal Way Works are city council members Eric Faison, Linda Kochmar and Jeanne Burbidge, each whom made contributions ranging from $50 to $500 to the group. King County Deputy Prosecutor K.H. Lee Nelson also contributed $1,000. A total of $3,500 has been collected from mostly Federal Way citizens, according to the site.

Funds have been used to distribute signs, representing both sides of the issue, in downtown Federal Way.

Federal Way Works has also sent out mailers. Reid did not comment on other measures her group may take in an attempt to keep the council-manager form of government intact.

Contact Jacinda Howard: or (253) 925-5565.

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