Resident not satisfied with city attorney's apology

Federal Way resident Norma Blanchard was shut down during the July 16 city council meeting from making public comments about the investigation into an incident involving Federal Way Mayor Skip Priest and Councilmember Kelly Maloney.

At the time, city attorney Pat Richardson cited the council's rules regarding conduct at the public comment podium. Upon further review, Richardson issued an apology to Blanchard, indicating that she had acted too quickly during the July 16 meeting.

However, for Blanchard, the apology was not enough — and she let the council, Priest and Richardson know during the Aug. 6 meeting.

"At the last meeting, July 16, I tried to make some statements and I was stopped by our city attorney," Blanchard said. "Since then, I've got a letter from the city attorney with two apologies in it…I've looked in the city council rules and procedures, and it says nothing about that, so how the hell are we supposed to know? My notes, I've still got them, had nothing to do with what the city attorney was saying."

Blanchard continued, saying she feels Richardson is doing the city a disservice.

"This is the second time I've personally ran up against something that the city attorney did not understand. I would like to ask that she resign. We need to get another city attorney. She's not doing the city any favors, she's not doing a good job," she said.

Priest interjected and reminded Blanchard of the rules of conduct for public comment, which prohibit members of the public from making personal statements about council members or city staff. Priest reads the rules aloud before every public comment period at meetings.

"You know, Ms. Blanchard, that personal comments about staff (are not allowed), as you know," he said. "You've been here a long time."

"I know I have and this is my time to speak," Blanchard shot back. "You can speak after I've spoken. I'm totally ticked off about this."

Priest attempted to mollify Blanchard, but reiterated the rules for public comment.

"I understand, Ms. Blanchard, I understand. But at the same time, this is not the appropriate place to make personal comments about our staff," he said.

"Resign or fire her," Blanchard said, before leaving the podium.

Learn more

• To read more about the city attorney's apology to Blanchard, click here.

• To read more about the investigation of a complaint filed against the mayor, click here.


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