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News / Clark County News

Union levels accusations against Madore

AFSCME says county councilor retaliated over earlier complaint

By Katie Gillespie, Columbian Education Reporter
Published: April 6, 2016, 7:23pm

As Clark County grapples with how to handle conflicting allegations made by Councilor David Madore and Community Planning staff, a third party has accused the councilor of wrongdoing.

Public service employee union AFSCME in November alleged that Madore, a Republican, violated state labor laws by doing work on the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan update that should have been performed by union employees, according to public records obtained from the county.

In a later complaint filed in March, the union also alleged Madore retaliated against employees following the initial complaint, prompting the county to hire an outside attorney to investigate — at a cost of $240 for each hour of work she performs.

Madore did not return a request for comment Wednesday.

Records show Larry Clark, a representative from AFSCME, Council 2, and several members of planning staff met with the county’s human resources director, Francine Reis, in November to share a list of 22 allegations of labor and contract violations. That list includes:

• Madore’s creation of Alternative 4 of the growth plan update.

• Edits the councilor allegedly made to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to the growth plan.

• Revisions to Alternative 4 maps between open houses last spring.

• His direction to staff not to present information or “advocate” by presenting analysis of the comprehensive plan at November hearings.

Clark did not return a request for comment.

According to an email Reis sent to Clark on Dec. 18, a month after the initial complaints were filed, Reis met with Madore, who is an elected official, to share the union’s concerns and ask that he “discontinue doing this type of work.”

“We will monitor future work and provide guidance, as necessary, to try to avoid further concerns such as these,” Reis wrote.

But early last month, Clark filed an additional complaint against Madore. In a letter to Reis dated March 2, Clark wrote that Madore retaliated against the initial complaint with his Facebook posts and an editorial he wrote for a weekly newspaper accusing staff of acting in an “unethical, dishonest and deceptive manner.”

“These unfounded allegations have a negative effect on our members’ credibility and their ability to conduct their work engaging the public, tantamount to creating a hostile work environment,” Clark wrote. “Further, these allegations tend to cast a shadow on all county employees in carrying out their duties serving the public.”

AFSCME represents 215 Clark County employees in the Public Works, Environmental Services, Community Development and Community Planning departments. Reis did not comment on the specifics of the complaint or the investigation.

Outside attorney

The union’s complaint comes at a time when the county is already investigating whistleblower and harassment complaints made by Community Planning Director Oliver Orjiako, as well as allegations by Madore that county planning staff and the Prosecutor’s Office lied about the impacts of Alternative 4.

According to a contract obtained through a public records request and an interview with Acting County Manager Mark McCauley, the county has hired Seattle attorney Rebecca Dean to investigate Orjiako’s complaints, AFSCME’s allegations of retaliation, and Madore’s allegations.

According to Dean’s contract with Clark County, she will receive $240 an hour while investigating the three issues.

Dean is one of three outside attorneys the county has hired in light of the conflicting allegations. Prosecutor Tony Golik, a Democrat, said last week the county will work with Peter Jarvis, a Portland attorney specializing in ethics, to determine what role the county’s own attorneys, Deputy Prosecutors Chris Cook and Chris Horne, can play in land-use issues in light of Madore’s recent allegations.

Andrew Lane, a Seattle land-use attorney, will represent the county on land-use issues in the meantime.

The Columbian filed public records requests on Wednesday for the contracts with Lane and Jarvis. McCauley estimated last week that the total attorney costs could be well in excess of $25,000.

Columbian Education Reporter