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Sequim council member urged to resign over résumé discrepancies

Pence denies wrongdoing, saying his qualifications are true

SEQUIM — Two Sequim-area residents are calling for the resignation of council appointee Mike Pence after finding discrepancies in his résumé.

Pence, who was appointed to a vacant seat on April 27 2020, said in a phone interview Friday he has no plans to resign and that he never meant to mislead anyone through his application.

Karen Hogan and Marsha Maguire called for Pence’s resignation after finding that his résumé falsely lists his job titles for some of his career, including that he was director of Public Works for the City of Liberty, Mo., from October 1988 to October 2009.

Liberty’s city recruitment coordinator Beth Vanderhoorn said Friday that Pence worked there from 1988-2009 and his title at the end of his employment was public works maintenance supervisor.

“He was not the director of public works, nor was he ever an interim or anything,” Vanderhooven said.

Hogan and Maquire said Steven Hansen was director of Public Works in Liberty from 1989-June 2016.

Hansen, a design-build advisor for Emery Sapp & Sons of Kansas City, Mo., was public works director from 1994-2016, he said Friday.

“(Pence) has misrepresented himself and he has been less than truthful and I have no idea what his motive is,” Hansen said. “Honestly, I don’t know why he’s doing it. It’s just not truthful.

“He misrepresented himself, and that’s wrong.”

Hansen said he was first hired as director of engineering in 1989 when he and Pence were co-department heads. Pence led utilities and maintenance, Hansen added.

Hansen became public works director in 1994 when the department was created, and he became Pence’s supervisor, and Pence was demoted to a superintendent position, Hansen said.

“I promoted someone else in the division to head that operation,” he said. “He was unhappy about being demoted.”

Current Liberty Public Works Director Sherri McIntyre said in an interview that Hansen was public works director in 2009, the same year Pence retired.

Pence response

Pence said that his intent was not to mislead the council and residents with his resume, which he titled as “confidential resume.”

“When I got hired in the City of Liberty I was director of utilities and community maintenance, which is public works,” he said.

He said that in 1994 the city combined public works and utilities and he became maintenance supervisor.

“No, I was not public works director,” he said. He said that he changed it for his city council application because “nobody knows what a director of utilities and community maintenance is.”

But Pence doesn’t feel he misrepresented his job descriptions or accomplishments.

He said when Hansen’s title changed, responsibilities changed so that Pence was no longer in charge of the water and sewer plants, which he was fine with.

He said his résumé was a summation of his highest qualifications over those 20-plus years

“What I have accomplished is exactly true,” Pence said.

His application listed his responsibilities as management, supervision and coordination of the water department, sewer department and street department along with serving on committees and being involved in the city’s budget process.

“I have 30 years of municipal government experience and I’ve never been called a liar before,” he said.

“I take real offense to that.”

He added that when locals called Liberty, they didn’t ask what his position was in 1988, just 2009.

“Maybe I should have made (the application) clearer,” Pence said. “Maybe that was a misstep by me. Most people know public works but they don’t know utilities and community maintenance.

“But I wouldn’t have spent 30 years in municipal government and lied through everything.”

No violation

Sequim’s interim City Manager Charisse Deschenes was unaware of the allegations on Friday, but after discussion with leadership city staff, she said Pence’s actions “do not look to be a legal violation or a council rules violation.”

On March 25, Hogan and Maguire emailed Pence about the discrepancies and asked him to resign or they’d go public with the information.

Pence said he refused to be harassed or follow ultimatums.

“I’ll seek the advice of a lawyer if these two keep it up,” he said. “They are bullying me, I feel. It’s defamation of character.”

Pence said he intends to run for reelection in November for council position No. 3.

Hogan and Maguire also allege Pence stated he was Director of Housing and Community Development for the City of Flat River, Missouri from 1978-1980. The city later merged with other cities to become Park Hills In 1994, but Hogan and Maguire said they connected with city reps who said Pence had a “position of lesser authority and responsibilities.”

Park Hills representatives could not be reached by press time.

Again, Pence said he didn’t mean to mislead as his job involved, according to his application, intergovernmental relations, housing programs, recreation, along with committees and budget planning for those areas. He added that he oversaw parks, filed grants, oversaw a lot of projects for the community and sewer departments and he “didn’t know there was a discrepancy” over the title.

Targeted?

Pence said he feels he’s being targeted by Hogan, Maguire and other community members.

“They’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” he said. “My intent was not to mislead anyone. They targeted the mayor for months and still are.

“Those two ladies know nothing about me and my integrity.”

Hogan said she doesn’t feel they are targeting Pence specifically and that Mayor William Armacost’s recent comment at a council meeting about how much executive experience there was when it came to searching for a new city manager prompted her to examine the council member’s experience.

“If you uncover behavior and actions that are not in the best interests of the Sequim residents, that’s not targeting,” she said.

“We uncovered major lies on this man’s application for city council. He’s consistently voting with the mayor who claims (Pence) is one of his people with executive experience. How is that targeting?

“We’re uncovering something that’s not true.”

Just leave

When asked for a solution to the matter, Pence suggested Hogan and Maguire leave Sequim.

“They don’t like anything, in my opinion,” he said. “If they don’t like it here, why don’t they move? They just keep stirring the hate. That’s not helping our community whatsoever.”

Hogan and Maguire, both members of the Sequim Good Governance League, also questioned Pence’s reliability after he was one of four city council members to call for the resignation of former city manager Charlie Bush in January and then on March 22 voted to begin a search for a new city manager after appointing Charisse Deschenes as interim city manager.

“What they did with Charlie Bush is unforgivable. He was extremely talented and had so much integrity and they got rid of him. We still don’t know why,” Hogan said.

In January, Armacost said in a press release that the decision was over “philosophical differences” but has not elaborated in multiple interviews and meetings.

Hogan said they expect honesty and transparency from city leaders and she doesn’t want Pence involved in a city manager search.

“You don’t lie about something like (job titles),” she said.

Pence said “philosophical differences can be a lot of things” and he wouldn’t go into specifics because it’s a personnel matter.

“The city was going in one direction and the council felt it needed to go in another direction,” Pence said.

Sequim City Council meets next in a virtual meeting at 6 p.m. April 12. For more information, visit www.sequimwa.gov.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected]

Peninsula Daily News Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]

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