Clallam Public Utility District candidate’s spouse files complaint

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The husband of a candidate for Clallam County Public Utility District commissioner has filed a complaint with the state Public Employment Relations Commission over his being fired by the PUD for allegedly violating the district’s residency policy.

Timm Kelly is president and business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 997 and is the husband of Cindy Kelly, who is running against PUD commission President Ted Simpson, the owner of Angeles Electric in Port Angeles.

Timm Kelly, who was fired April 6, filed the complaint last week accusing the PUD of unfair labor practices over his dismissal, public utility district General Manager Doug Nass told the commission in a statement Monday at the commission’s regular meeting.

An outside investigator determined that Timm Kelly violated the district policy by living outside the boundaries of the Forks service area while collecting a stipend of more than $550 a month for living in that area, Nass said in the statement.

This began occurring after 2010, when he became the Local 997 president and business manager.

Nass said Friday he would not comment further on the complaint.

“However, this information is largely described in public documents and may be available through a public records request,” Nass said in the statement.

Denied benefits

Kelly applied for unemployment benefits after he was fired, saying he had been wrongfully terminated and was denied benefits.

After an administrative law judge denied his appeal of the determination, Kelly filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the Public Employment Relations Commission.

The judge said that Kelly, “by his own admission,” slept at his Forks residence “approximately 20 percent of the time” after becoming the top union official in 2010.

“Statutory misconduct has been found to exist,” the judge said in the ruling, according to Nass.

Timm Kelly did not return calls for comment Friday.

His wife, Cindy Kelly, who also ran against Simpson six years ago and lost by 299 votes from among 19,453 cast, was at the PUD meeting when Nass read the statement, she said Friday.

Not connected

“I’m Cindy Kelly, and I’m running for Clallam County PUD, and my election has nothing to do with my family, just like it didn’t six years ago when I ran,” she said Friday.

Her reaction to Nass’ statement?

“I thought it was interesting and timely,” Cindy Kelly said.

“It was timely because we’re in a campaign season. The whole situation is timely.”

Cindy Kelly said she and her husband have homes in Port Angeles and Forks but would not comment on how much time they spent at the Forks residence.

The PUD was obligated to update the commissioners in public, PUD spokesman Mike Howe said Friday.

“This was an issue being addressed in executive session, but when this particular employee filed the complaint, it essentially made it public and, based on our understanding, didn’t meet the requirements of an executive session,” he said.

“This is how we had to do it.”

Local 997 also filed a grievance over Timm Kelly’s termination.

A hearing on the grievance is scheduled to be heard in a hearing before an arbitrator in December, Nass said.

“The district believes that its action terminating Mr. Kelly’s employment was appropriate and is neither unlawful nor in violation of the collective bargaining agreement,” Nass said.

“The district intends to vigorously defend its actions, in both the grievance hearing and the PERC proceeding.”

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 13. 2012 5:17PM
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