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Council rescinds chiropractor's appointment to committee

The Federal Way City Council, in a 5-0 vote during a special meeting on June 11, rescinded the appointment of embattled chiropractor Greg Summers to the North Lake Management District Advisory Committee (NLMDAC).

The council cited concerns raised by other members of the committee - which manages the lake's finances and upkeep - as their main cause for the reversal. The chief concerns from other members of the committee came from Terry Thomas, a North Lake resident who said Summers had shown a lack of "stewardship" over the lake in his time as a resident.

"I'm looking for stewardship from Dr. Summers," Thomas told the council. "He's put structures in the lake, and I understand he's a bird watcher from looking at his (application). By putting structures in the lake with no comments to neighbors or anything, he's not exhibited stewardship. Basically, the structures have been unoccupied."

Summers is currently facing a felony indecent liberty charge in King County, stemming from alleged sexual misconduct on his part with a patient at his chiropractic practice in 2010.

At its June 4 meeting, the council approved Summers’ appointment to the committee by a vote of 7-0.

Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell reiterated the cause of the June 11 special meeting, saying Thomas' concerns, along with Summers' omission of legal troubles he's facing, meant a re-examination of his application and approval was needed.

"We obviously became aware of some issues and certain things that were withheld from (Summers') application," Ferrell said. "In light of this information, I think it's safe to say…the concern of any omission to any chiropractic practice or degree, but there was a mention of biology or zoology…I think it's safe to say during the course of the interview, a reasonable person sitting and listening to the responses, would think he was a practicing biologist or practicing in that field to some degree. That was my perception."

Councilmember Diana Noble-Gulliford set the tone for the rest of the council, indicating that Summers' legal troubles had little to no bearing on the decision to rescind his appointment. She said the stewardship issues that Thomas raised were of more concern.

"I'm in agreement with the motion but not your comments," Noble-Gulliford said. "I feel that had we had this email (Thomas' information) before us, that perhaps we would have reconsidered appointing this gentleman to the North Lake Management District (Advisory Committee)."

Councilmember Susan Honda asked if city staff had Thomas' email the day of Summers' appointment on June 4. The answer was in the affirmative, although Thomas pointed out that the NLMDAC had received notice that Summers was up for appointment only the day before. Thomas said he was able to get his information compiled into an email around 5 p.m. the day of the initial meeting.

One other point that arose during the discussion was whether Summers had been notified of the June 11 meeting. City clerk Carol McNeilly indicated she had emailed Summers with the agenda for the meeting, and that he had replied he had received the information. However, Summers was not in attendance.

Ferrell closed by saying this episode will be a guide for the city to improve its process with appointments to the various volunteer commissions throughout the community.

"I think it does, and will call into question, the manner in which we do this," he said. "I think certain assumptions were made, and I think this is a great opportunity to tighten up that practice."

Councilmembers Bob Celski and Dini Duclos were absent from Tuesday's special meeting.

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