Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Emmer’s actions were transparent

Regarding the article in the Feb. 23 issue concerning the Feb. 21 VMICC meeting, I wish to go on record as supporting the 27 yea votes in favor of Hilary Emmer not turning over six months’ worth of council-related e-mails during her tenure as interim chair of the VMICC.

The requester, Tom Bangasser, seems to want to harass Ms. Emmer because of her graciousness in stepping in to hold the VMICC together, assisting it in meeting its contractual and financial commitments. She carried out this role in a fair and open manner. The community was appropriately noticed, and there were no alleged violations of Washington’s open meetings law.

Tom Bangasser, by his words and actions, believes that the VMICC was illegal during the period in question, and therefore anything done by Ms. Emmer is tainted. To flesh out this alleged taint, he has continuously badgered Ms. Emmer for her VMICC e-mails. Given that all VMICC actions under Ms. Emmer’s leadership were public and transparent, then any e-mails with community members are irrelevant.

Some have argued that the Public Officers’ Law (POL) and especially the Public Records Act (PRA) are applicable to community councils in King County. Given that the elected VMICC board members are not “public officers” as contemplated by the POL, and the reality that VMICC’s function is not governance, then applicability of the PRA’s disclosure requirements is highly suspect. In fact, King County Superior Judge Ramsdell stated that the PRA is not applicable to community councils given their stated purpose.

Rep. Sharon Nelson apparently agrees. Her bill (SB 5677) would remove ambiguity and provide an exemption from the PRA’s requirements for the county’s six Unincorporated Area Councils. Island residents who desire a less bureaucratic/legalistic VMICC should support this legislation. It’s a shame that VMICC’s president doesn’t.

— Jim Otis

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