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Mayor calls foul on Noble

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Young claimed PDC investigation started before complaint was filed

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

Accusations by Bonney Lake Mayor Bob Young of a Public Disclosure Commission investigation of Councilwoman Cheryle Noble apparently put the complaint before the horse.

Young wrote a “letter to the editor” to The Herald, which was published Thursday, complaining about an article Noble wrote for the city's Council Corner publication.

Young's letter stated, “Councilwoman Noble derided the mayor with inflated staff changes that were misleading (in an illegal use of city resources using a council mailing, for political purposes, which the PDC is now investigating).”

The problem was, neither Noble nor the PDC knew anything about an investigation or a complaint being filed at the time of the letter's publication date.

“We have not had any complaint or started an investigation about such activities,” PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson said Thursday afternoon. “When we do receive a complaint we contact the person so they can give us their side, usually within 10 days. Then if we need more, we will interview.”

Anderson said the only active investigation of any Bonney Lake official concerns Young. The PDC is investigating the mayor's claim of lost wages he paid to himself from campaign funds. The mayor admits to drawing $5,250 from his campaign for lost wages.

Young said he sent a signed complaint about Noble's article to the PDC Friday and faxed one as well.

According to the mayor he had originally sent the complaint to Audit Manager Mark Rapozo in the state auditor's office in Tacoma and he (Young) thought it was sent to the PDC.

“I was misinformed how the procedure went,” Young said. “When informed, I filled it (the complaint) out. I didn't feel it (the article) was proper use if city resources.”

Rapozo said he had received a complaint from the mayor a couple of weeks ago.

“Mayor Bob Young provided us with his concerns,” Rapozo said. “We are looking into it. The use of public funds is within our jurisdiction.”

Noble said Thursday was the first she heard of any problem with what she had written for the Council Corner.

“I would like the record to be set straight,” Noble said. “The mayor lied. There was no PDC complaint filed or investigation until he filed one on Friday. He's always been condescending and treated me differently because I'm a woman. This is one more slap before he leaves office.”

Young lost a bid for a third term as mayor Sept. 20 to council members Neil Johnson and Jim Rackley.

The article in question was published in the September edition of the Council Corner.

The mayor stated the complaint named Noble, but he considered Johnson to also be involved.

“I didn't put Neil's name on it,” Young said. “But he's the one who edits it and sends it to the printer.”

Johnson said the members edit their own articles and the publication is meant to provide information about the city and council to the residents.

“Bob is grasping at straws,” Johnson said. “He has to vindicate himself some way.”

Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said the mayor might face further scrutiny concerning his campaign practices of using his staff secretary, Cathy Harstad-Everett, to collect voting record information about Swatman and Johnson.

“There was no staff time or city time used,” Young said. “I did have information gathered by a campaign volunteer at home on her own time, using public information on the city's Web site. I think I have the right to do that.”

Swatman said he thought using staff members to gather information on candidates was a violation of campaign laws.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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