Complaint filed against King County Fire District 28 commissioners

The thermostat was cranked up a couple of notches on two King County Fire District No. 28 commissioners when a complaint was filed against them in King County Superior Court May 14.

King County Fire District 28 commissioners Angie Stubblefield

Fehr’s Court Document

The thermostat was cranked up a couple of notches on two King County Fire District No. 28 commissioners when a complaint was filed against them in King County Superior Court May 14.

The suit was filed by Duncan C. Turner representing district residents Ted and Mary Fehr.

The complaint alleges fire commissioners Angie Stubblefield and Stan McCall committed violations of the state’s Open Public Meetings Act.

According to the court documents, Michael Tierney, from the Mercer Island firm Tierney & Blakney, will be representing the commissioners.

King County Superior Court Judge Richard McDermott has been assigned to the case with a trial date of July 6, 2015

A special meeting has been called by the fire district board for 6 p.m. today, Wednesday, at the Enumclaw City Council chambers.

There are two items on the agenda. First is current litigation and second is a motion to appoint private council for commissioner(s) to be paid for by the district.

Editor’s note:

The following includes the allegations from Fehr’s complaint document filed in Superior Court by their attorney.

Michael Tierney, the attorney representing the commissioners did not respond to an email request for comment. He has also not filed a response to the complaint.

Emails were also sent to McCall and Stubblefield for comment. The two commissioners did not respond by the  press deadline.

 

The Complaint

The complaint document alleges Stubblefield and McCall “have exhibited an ongoing pattern of violating the OPMA (Open Public Meetings Act) by transacting the business of the District without proper notice to the public and in secret meetings conducted by email and/or other means.”

The filing stated the “plaintiffs seek injunctive relief to prevent future illegal  conduct by the defendants, nullification of any secret votes taken, statutory penalties for each violation and other remedies provided by the OPMA.”

The Fehr document is also requesting attorneys’ fees and court costs.

The document alleges the open meetings act violations include a series of emails from Stubblefield to former Fire Chief Joe Clow and copied to McCall and Commissioner Dave Hannity.

The emails, titled “House keeping issues” involved a proposal by Stubblefield to end a contract with Creative Concept-CRECON, to get door codes to enter the district fire stations and identification allowing the commissioners to enter fire scenes.

According to the document, McCall replied in an email stating “concurrence” with Stubblefield’s proposals.

The document also alleges the two commissioners have taken action outside of a public meeting when Clow was directed by McCall in a March 18 email to register the two for a training at Ocean Shores during a budget freeze.

Stubblefield had made a motion to allow the members to attend the training at a March 17 public meeting. The motion died for lack of a second.

The document also alleges the commissioners “caused the board to take an unlawful voted on removal of the fire chief.”

The document stated in an April 17 executive session Stubblefield, “called for the immediate firing of Chief Clow. McCall expressed some hesitance but ultimately expressed his agreement with Stubblefield.”

According to the document, fire district Attorney Mike Reynolds asked if there was a consensus that Clow should be fired, and Stubblefield and McCall voted for dismissal.

The document stated Hannity “vehemently voted no and stated his belief that the vote taken during executive session was illegal.”

The filing stated Reynolds contacted Clow and informed him the commissioners had asked him to resign.

At the May 5 meeting Clow resigned and the separation contract stipulated the former fire chief would be paid about $125,000, which included more than $82,000 in compensation for vacation and sick leave. He would also receive his salary with full benefits through August.

Interim Fire Chief Doug Dawson took over May 12.

From January to April, Clow was paid $57,339.68. His compensation through August, including the separation payment, will top out to more than $182,000.

His employment contract with the district, which would have ended in December, listed a base pay of $11,658.50 per month, $139,902 per year, according to his pay stub detail from Dec. 31, 2013. The taxable amount of his pay was 132,636.

He was paid monthly $1,498.78 for his insurance premium ($1,552 with dental added), $349.76 for longevity pay and $836.88 for Social Security opt out, which is a total compensation with the benefits of $172.019.04.

 

 

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