Letters to the Editor

This smells: Report on mayor's behavior | Letters

I have read the initial story by Andy Hobbs (May 24) and the complaint filed by Councilwoman Kelly Maloney, as well as all the online written comments generated by that article.

I have known Skip Priest as my state representative and as mayor of Federal Way, first as a citizen of Federal Way and then as a Republican Precinct Committee Officer for District 30-3088.

In all my dealings with Skip Priest, he has always been courteous and responsive to any questions I might have and always willing to meet with me regarding any concerns I might have. Councilwoman Maloney’s complaint was shocking in that her description of Mayor Priest’s behavior during a one-on-one meeting runs counter to any that I have had with him.

Councilwoman Maloney states the meeting with Skip Priest took place at 4:30 p.m. May 8, 2013. She filed the complaint on May 9, 2013. As is the city’s customary practice, an independent investigation was begun per the city’s press release that addressed the release of Councilwoman Maloney’s complaint.

I find it curious that word of an internal investigation was leaked to the editor of the Federal Way Mirror, which prompted him to file a request for public records as of May 15, and upon receipt of those records, he filed a story that is based on one woman’s viewpoint that clearly portrays Skip Priest in the worst light possible for a city official.

Councilwoman Maloney’s complaint details the conversation of a meeting that was requested to discuss a project she has been working on. It was a 30-minute meeting that, according to Maloney, ran the gambit from discussion of the project to emails between the mayor and herself, to arguments about the previous night’s City Hall meeting, and to Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell running for the office of the mayor against Skip Priest. She states in her complaint that Skip Priest lost his temper, pounded his desk, tried to intimidate her (but she held her ground bravely, never once raising her voice), cursed and then cried.

"I was surprised and disappointed that the mayor's office has decided to respond by way of press release to something that is an ongoing investigation. I'm equally concerned that the facts were mischaracterized," Maloney told The Mirror. "The reason I started the investigation was not for myself, but for staff whom I believe might be in a hostile work environment, which is why the integrity of the investigation is so important."

I am surprised by Councilwoman Maloney’s response. She wants the investigation to have integrity, yet is disappointed the city filed a press release on the day of the public records being released to Andy Hobbs of the Federal Way Mirror, the town’s only newspaper.

Ordinarily, an internal investigation is confidential, yet someone told Mr. Hobbs of its existence and he requested the records.

This smells.

Peggie Duggan, Federal Way


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