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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Golik: Deputy prosecutors can advise county council

Horne, Cook were put on hiatus after Madore complaints

By Katie Gillespie, Columbian Education Reporter
Published: April 14, 2016, 8:31pm

The Clark County council and Community Planning staff may soon once again be able to consult their own attorneys on land-use issues.

The Clark County council at its 10 a.m. Tuesday meeting will consider whether to allow Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor Chris Horne and Deputy Prosecutor Christine Cook to return to representing the council as it considers its Comprehensive Growth Management Plan update, as well as other issues that fall under the Growth Management Act.

The two attorneys have been on hiatus from growth plan issues for about two weeks, prompted by Republican Councilor David Madore’s recent accusations that the pair has lied about details of the county’s comprehensive growth plan. Horne and Cook have been performing other work for Clark County, but have not weighed in on land-use matters in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

In a letter to the council written Wednesday, however, Democratic Prosecutor Tony Golik wrote that the council could waive any conflict of interest, fully restoring Horne and Cook to their duties. He went on to say that the Prosecutor’s Office believes Horne and Cook “will not be found to have engaged in any wrongdoing,” and that the council should be able to continue to “turn to them … for advice and analysis.”

Golik added that Horne and Cook should not advise Madore in his role as a county councilor while an investigator researches his allegations, but they can continue to advise the council as a whole.

Golik’s letter, furthermore, makes it clear that the Prosecutor’s Office believes Madore’s accusations against Horne and Cook are incorrect.

“It is the firm position of the Prosecutor Attorney’s Office that neither (Horne) nor (Cook) ever knowingly provided false information to the (council) or otherwise performed their role as legal advisor improperly,” he wrote.

Outside counsel

Madore’s accusations against the deputy prosecutors and planning staff prompted the Prosecutor’s Office to hire two outside attorneys to assist.

Andrew Lane, a Seattle-based land-use attorney, has been advising the council and planning staff on land-use matters in Horne and Cook’s place. According to a contract with the county obtained through a public records request, Lane charges $355 per hour. He most recently publicly advised the council during a hearing on the rural industrial land bank earlier this month.

Acting County Manager Mark McCauley said working with Lane has not disrupted workflow at the county, partially due to the fact that there have been no hearings on the county’s growth plan. But Madore’s accusations have still caused stress at Clark County.

“There’s no way this can’t have a negative impact on (Horne and Cook),” McCauley said.

The Prosecutor’s Office also hired Peter Jarvis, an attorney specializing in ethics, to determine whether Cook and Horne in fact had any conflict of interest. Golik said it’s unclear whether Jarvis’ services will be needed after Tuesday’s meeting. According to Jarvis’ contract with the county, the Portland-based attorney charges $500 per hour.

Investigation continues

Clark County’s Human Resources department, meanwhile, also has hired an investigator to look into Madore and Planning Director Oliver Orjiako’s competing accusations.

Seattle attorney Rebecca Dean, according to a contract with the county, is investigating Madore’s allegations against Community Planning and the Prosecutor’s Office that both have lied about the impact of his controversial Alternative 4 zoning proposal.

Dean also is investigating Orjiako’s whistleblower and harassment complaints against Madore, in which the director accuses the councilor of violating the Growth Management Act as well as of racism and discrimination.

In a third investigation, Dean is looking into allegations by public service employee union AFSCME that Madore violated state labor laws by doing work on the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan update.

Dean, according to her contract, charges $240 an hour.

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Columbian Education Reporter