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Ethics panel finds Port Angeles deputy mayor violated code

Ethics panel finds Port Angeles deputy mayor violated code

Ethics panel finds Port Angeles deputy mayor violated code

PORT ANGELES — An ethics panel has found Port Angeles Deputy Mayor Cherie Kidd in violation of the city code of ethics for abruptly adjourning a Feb. 2 meeting and interrupting a speaker.

Panel members Frank Prince Jr., Grant Meiner and Danetta Rutten voted unanimously this morning to find that Kidd violated one of four “general standards of conduct” outlined in the revised complaint filed by Marolee Smith.

The standard of comment, according to Smith's complaint, was that elected officials should “refrain from engaging in conduct that reflects discredit on public officials and impairs the city's efficient and effective operation.”

The panel found she had not violated the other three standards listed in Smith's complaint.

“I appreciate the service of the committee,” Kidd said this morning.

“I followed our council rules of procedure. 

“We're all doing our best on behalf of Port Angeles."

Smith did not attend the meeting and was not available for comment immediately after it.

The panel's finding will led to another meeting in which it will make a recommendation to the City Council on a course of action, said Meiner, a former Clallam County Superior Court judge.

Among possible actions that could be recommended are removal from the position of deputy mayor, issuance of a cease-and-desist order to the council member that the person can seek review of from Clallam County Superior Court, a verbal admonition, a letter of reprimand or public censure.

The council also could decide not to take action, according to City Attorney Bill Bloor.

“It's entirely up to the City Council what happens next,” he said.

The ethics complaint is one of three that fluoridation opponents have filed in recent months following the council members' 4-3 Dec. 15 decision to continue fluoridating the city's water supply until June 2026.

The complaints, which allege violations of the city's ethics code, focus on how council members handled opposition to that decision and their behavior toward speakers at Jan. 5, Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 council meetings.

A complaint filed by Our Water, Our Choice! against Councilman Dan Gase was dismissed Thursday by a second ethics panel composed of Ken Williams, Jerry Dean and William Yucha. 

That complaint also contained allegations against Kidd, which the panel will consider on Thursday.

The third complaint is against Mayor Patrick Downie. It was filed by Smith.

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