Mayor Bernie Talmas was chastised at Tuesday’s Woodinville city council meeting by most members for not signing a resolution which passed last week and for not reading a proclamation for National Hospital Week.
The heated exchange came less than a week after the city paid at .
At Tuesday’s meeting, the council, with the exception of Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders, took the mayor to task for not signing resolution 414 (see PDF) to the King County Council. The resolution states City Council support for owners of several properties in unincorporated King County along the Sammamish Valley who want their land to be annexed into the city. King County Executive Dow Constantine is against the annexation, which would transfer land zoned rural into the city and necessitate the county moving the Urban Growth Boundary.
The council passed the resolution in a 5-2 vote, with Boundy-Sanders and Talmas voting no, at the city’s March 6 meeting. At the time the Talmas said he was voting against the resolution because he believed it contained factual errors and that the council had not been briefed on any of the statements on the proclamation.
Talmas said he was particularly concerned with the last two statements of the proclamation which read:
“WHEREAS, including these properties within the Urban Growth Boundary will meet the goals of the Growth Management Act by: limiting sprawling development; reducing costs by encouraging concentrated development; improving the efficiency of human services, utilities and transportation; protecting the rural area and resource lands; and enhancing open space; and
WHEREAS, inclusion of these areas within the Urban Growth Boundary will benefit the affected properties and surrounding Sammamish Valley; King County, and the City of Woodinville by protecting the natural environment; promoting agritourism, establishing appropriate oversight regarding the use of the affected properties; and ensuring a sustainable way to develop and maintain the affected properties;”
Council members Liz Aspen, Les Rubstello, Scott Hageman, Paulette Bauman and Art Preglor questioned the mayor’s right not to sign the resolution and not to read a separate proclamation that was requested by Evergreen Hospital.
City Attorney Greg Rubstello (Les Rubstello’s cousin) said the mayor was within his rights to not sign the resolution or read the proclamation. Although it was customary to do so, there are no council rules or state statutes that compel the mayor to do either. Though Talmas did not sign the resolution, it moves forward with the majority council vote.
Councilman Rubstello demanded the mayor explain his decisions, pointing out that as mayor, he represented the entire council, whether he agreed with a vote or not.
When the mayor tried to clarify why he didn’t sign the resolution, which he felt had factual errors and made claims on the development of the Sammamish Valley that the council had not been briefed on before, he was cut off by Rubstello who said he didn’t want to hear any more about the factual errors.
“Right now we are talking about you, not the resolution. Hold your comments to your performance because that’s what this issue was about,” Rubstello said.
Talmas replied that he was trying to respond to comments the council had just raised regarding why he didn’t sign the resolution, Rubstello again cut him off saying he didn’t want to hear any more of the list of problems Talmas had with the resolution.
At that point, the mayor pointed out that he had the floor and Rubstello was out of order. “You can choose to say out of order but we can overrule you as council. I think council probably doesn’t want to hear you go through those items again.”
Boundy-Sanders broke in and came to the mayor’s defense, stating that he should have at least as much time to explain his point of view on the resolution as the other council members had.
In the end, Talmas again said that he did not sign because he believed there were factual errors.
The entire meeting can be viewed on the city’s web site by clicking here. The issue of the mayor not signing the resolution begins at 58.11 minutes into the video.