Yelm Mayor JW Foster said “a couple of people are crying foul” and he doesn’t “know what their problem is” in a Nisqually Valley News’ story titled …
Yelm Mayor JW Foster said “a couple of people are crying foul” and he doesn’t “know what their problem is” in a Nisqually Valley News’ story titled “Foster’s 2017 Action Encumbered City by Over $3 Million in Delinquent Assessment Payments on Behalf of the LID.” The “problem” is that Mayor Foster circumvented the legal process. No legal adviser would have told him to bypass his requirements to obtain public council authorization for any contract over $35,000, which he should know. Stephen DiJulio, Yelm’s Seattle-based special projects counsel for the 640 acre deed and Killion Road Local Improvement District (LID), understood his firm had council’s authorization to proceed on the contract. Who from the city conveyed that? The Yelm protocol manual states, “It is staff’s responsibility to ensure the policy of the council is upheld.” That includes the mayor, city administrator, and department supervisors who need to act to ensure the laws are followed.
The council gave former Mayor Ron Harding the authority to examine getting this LID debt situation rectified in July of 2016. Foster became mayor after Harding resigned the following month. As mayor, Foster never publicly provided the council and his constituents what he was going to do about the LID investigation, never provided any updates on the contract’s negotiations and preparation, never notified the council about the contract signing nor the documentation, and never explained the debt payment schedule to the council prior to signing. Foster unilaterally signed this $3 million contract without the council’s public approval. Only six months after the signing, when asked about this deal by Councilor Joe DePinto after being notified by a citizen, did the mayor finally acknowledge what had been done. Why the subterfuge?
Yes, “a couple of people are crying foul” because abrogating the legal process is a serious matter. Foster has not been transparent on why he sidestepped the council for this contract and that’s the “problem.”
Steve Klein, Yelm
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