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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Feb. 20, 2024

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Council considers Madore’s Facebook page

He wrote post alleging staff wrongdoing; council declines to pursue criminal investigation of the allegation

By , Columbian Education Reporter

David Madore’s digital world trickled into the real world Tuesday, as the Clark County council discussed a Facebook post the Republican councilor made alleging wrongdoing by county staff and posing the question of whether staff should face a criminal investigation.

In a Facebook post made Monday, Madore echoed claims he made last month that Community Planning staff have “covertly used” software to “erroneously inflate” the number of lots created by his controversial zoning proposal for the county’s Comprehensive Growth Management Plan, Alternative 4.

“I am convinced these blatant lies will be made plain when the citizens defend their rights in court,” Madore wrote.

But Madore’s allegations — which are also the subject of a complaint by a former council candidate — prompted Chief Deputy Prosecutor Chris Horne to ask the council if it wanted to launch a criminal investigation into county planning staff.

“Given the seriousness of the allegations of criminal behavior, our office will consider referring this matter for an independent investigation into the allegations of Councilor Madore if the council wishes,” Horne told the council Tuesday.

He added, however, that county planning staff has not used the type of software Madore has accused it of using. County planning staff said the same thing last week when the council selected its preferred alternative to the 20-year growth plan.

Madore, however, said he only wants the truth about how county staff calculated the number of lots created by Alternative 4.

But it’s not as simple as that, Horne said.

“Your comment is that somebody is responsible for making a false or misleading statement to you as a public servant,” Horne said. “That’s a crime. Just trying to get at the truth is a completely different concern.”

Madore’s fellow councilors — except for Republican Tom Mielke, who was out sick — showed no interest in investigating county staff.

Chair Marc Boldt, no party preference, said that as long as the county council continues to allow one councilor to accuse staff of illegal activity, it’s essentially “impugning (the) reputation and education” of county staff.

“To me, that is putting the county in a rough spot and making us almost liable for a hostile work environment,” Boldt said.

Councilor Jeanne Stewart, a Republican, said that under the Home Rule Charter, it’s not up to the county council to assess county staff. That responsibility falls to the executive branch.

“It is an illegal activity for this council to do performance analyses of the employees,” she said. “I think we need to be mindful and careful of that.”

Ultimately, Stewart, Boldt and Republican Julie Olson turned down Horne’s offer to pursue an independent criminal investigation.

Madore, meanwhile, was the sole voice of support.

“Yes, because it really has to do with whether we’re going to establish the truth,” he said.

Question of ethics

A former Clark County council candidate also raised an issue with Madore’s Facebook post, accusing the councilor of violating the council’s code of ethics in his attacks on county planning staff.

Democrat Chuck Green, who ran for the District 2 council seat and lost to Olson last fall, said in an email to the county that Madore, in his Facebook post Monday, made a number of “unfounded accusations that are libelous in nature and are contributing to a hostile work environment for staff at the county, in this case Community Planning staff.”

In his complaint, Green calls on the county to form an ethics committee to investigate Madore’s behavior and possibly offer a recommendation of censure and removal from all boards and committees.

“What I’d really like to see him do is — force him to apologize publicly to county staff,” Green said. “He’s defaming county staff and he doesn’t seem to care.”

Columbian Education Reporter