Port Angeles City Council reads statement instead of admonishing deputy mayor

Admonishment vote stalls 3-3

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council on Tuesday did not follow an ethics board recommendation to verbally admonish Deputy Mayor Cherie Kidd and instead read a statement to the public.

The board had made the recommendation in April in response to a complaint over Kidd abruptly adjourning a Feb. 2 meeting during public comments critical of council members who favored fluoridation.

Council members Tuesday instead voted 4-2 to have the following statement read to the public.

“This council will respect the public and follow Open Public Meetings Act protocol for adjourning meetings, and we will do our best to be tolerant, patient and respectful of all,” Mayor Patrick Downie said.

Mayor Patrick Downie and council members Sissi Bruch, Brad Collins and Dan Gase voted to have the statement read. Councilmen Lee Whetham and Michael Merideth voted against it.

A vote was taken on admonishment. Merideth, a Kidd critic, would not join Whetham, Bruch and Downie in voting for it. Collins and council member Dan Gase joined Merideth in voting against admonishment, leading to a 3-3 deadlock.

Merideth voted against admonishment, he said, because he “would like to see her step down, or be removed, as deputy mayor.”

Kidd, who was not present for the vote, would not comment on the decision after the meeting.

An ethics board composed of former Superior Court Judge Grant Meiner, Frank Prince Jr. and Danetta Rutten unanimously recommended to the council in April that Kidd should be verbally admonished.

The ethics board agreed that in adjourning the meeting, Kidd violated the following section of the ethics code as alleged in Port Angeles resident Marolee Smith’s complaint:

“Public officials shall not engage in any conduct or activities that reflect discredit on the public officials, tend to bring the city into disrepute or impair its efficient and effective operation.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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