Winlock City Council fails to deliberate

By Lynnette Hoffman


During the past, Winlock City Council meetings have had zero deliberations on important issues before them as required by the Open Public Meeting Act. At the last City Council meeting on April 8, 2019, there were zero deliberations on any agenda items prompting the Town Crier to investigate to see how often this is occuring. During the investigation, the Town Crier uncovered over 40 instances (and counting) where the City Council had failed to deliberate. These are clear violations of the Open Public Meeting Act.

The Open Public Meeting Act (OPMA) is an act which promotes open government and transparency by requiring city council to openly discuss important issues before them. Instead, the Winlock City Council has no comment and motions are made immediately without any discussion. If the majority fails to deliberate, it is a violation of the Open Public Meeting Act.

The important thing to remember here is this is a responsibility of the council and failing to do so could result in a lawsuit by the citizens of Winlock.

If a lawsuit occurs and these items are found to be in violation of the Open Public Meeting Act, these votes would be null and void, voiding the hiring of the Winlock Police Department, employees, etc.

There are also penalties for failing to deliberate, $500 for the first offense and $1,000 per offense thereafter. These penalties are not the financial responsibility of the city, they are the personal financial responsibility of each city council member. The Mayor does not have to pay a fine, because he is not the one responsible to deliberate. With over 40 cases identified, that would be a minimum personal fine for each council member of $39,500 plus attorney fees.

Below is a partial list of the numerous times the Winlock City Council has failed to deliberate on important issues.

FEBRUARY 26, 2018 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Korpi, Pedersen, Curtis, Sneed, Randt

Mayor Bradshaw stated that a motion was needed to send a demand letter to Toledo. He would not go into detail as the matter remains confidential due to potential litigation.The first letter he sent to Toledo, was not approved by council until after the fact, therefore never deliberating on the Police Department issue.

MARCH 12, 2018 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Korpi, Pedersen, Curtis, Sneed, Randt.

Councilor Pedersen made a motion to move forward with reestablishment of the Winlock Police.

MAY 14, 2018 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Korpi, Pedersen, Curtis, Sneed, Randt.

Mayor Bradshaw asked for approval to send a letter to Toledo to either settle terminating the Law Enforcement? What? Contract?

MARCH 26, 2018 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Korpi, Pedersen, Curtis, Sneed, Randt.

Councilor Randt made a motion to hire Stephen Valentine, Councilor Curtis second, motion carried.

JUNE 25, 2018 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Korpi, Pedersen, Curtis, Sneed, Randt

Ordinance No. 1061 - Reinstate Winlock Police Department.

At no time were there any deliberations on the Winlock Police Department to the public. Now, the citizens of Winlock are upset that they do not have the coverage and response time they had during the Winlock-Toledo Interlocal agreement. Many have been vocal on Facebook about the lack of response time and the lack of safety for the citizens.

DECEMBER 19, 2018 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Maloney, Pedersen, Curtis, Sneed, Randt.

Councilor Curtis made a motion to approve Ordinance No 1070, First Reading of the 2019 City of Winlock Budget, Councilor Pedersen second, motion carried. Councilor Randt, "Opposed."

DECEMBER 20, 2018 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Maloney, Curtis, Sneed, Randt; absent Pedersen

Councilor Curtis made a motion to approve Ordinance No 1070, Second Reading of the 2019 City of Winlock Budget, Councilor Sneed second, motion carried. Councilor Randt, "Opposed."

DECEMBER 27, 2018 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Pedersen, Curtis, Sneed, Randt; absent Maloney

Ordinance No 1072 - 2018 Year End Budget Amendments Councilor Pedersen made a motion to approve Ordinance No 1072, Councilor Curtis second, motion carried.

Every surrounding community had budget workshops to discuss their budgets, Winlock City Council was the only council who did not have workshops to discuss their budget. In fact, during the meetings, council members stated they did not understand the budget even though they voted to approve it.

JANUARY 28, 2019 COUNCIL MEETING: Members in attendance Maloney, Pedersen, Curtis, Sneed, Randt

Mayor Bradshaw asked Council for confirmation of Jenifer Slemp who will be taking the position in Planning and Community Development.

Councilor Pedersen made a motion to confirm the hiring of Jenifer Slemp, Councilor Curtis second, motion carried. Randt opposed.

Mayor Bradshaw has continually violated the ordinance which requires approval prior to hiring, council approves his hires after the fact. Mayor Bradshaw hired Jenifer Slemp without looking for a qualified Community Development individual stating she was "mostly qualified" which should have prompted council to ask what does "mostly qualified mean?" No questions were asked and no other applicants were interviewed.

Winlock City Council has failed to do their job, deliberate and discuss city business openly. It is the job of the media to inform the citizens what is happening with and in their government.