Here are raw notes I took during tonight’s Troutdale City Council discussion of the resolution to censure Troutdale Mayor Jim Kight. DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional transcription typist, and I missed a few sentences here and there. But I hope these notes give a good idea of the actual discussion.
To see the resolution that was being discussed, read the documents at the end of these meeting agenda items at this link:
NOTES FROM TROUTDALE CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION/ CITIZEN COMMENTS re: RESOLUTION TO CENSURE TROUTDALE MAYOR JIM KIGHT
May 24, 2011Troutdale City Councilor Doug Daoust: we need to be a team and we’re not. We have a rogue official. This has been going on for years; this should have been addressed a long time ago. This should have been addressed by the previous city council..There have been thing that kind of boiled over. This is not about Jim’s shed that turned into a house. We’re not going to get into a technical argument about the house.
The real issue –house is the improper use of his position to put influence and staff the entire process. It is our impression that no other person sitting in this audience would be able to build the accessory structure that Jim did. Staff is caught in the middle. And we don’t like that at all. We don’t like staff being put in the position where they are uncomfortable, were they are wondering what’s going on. Bottom line is our respect for city employees.
Former Troutdale Mayor Paul Thalofer..shocked that mayor lies to city staff.. Despicable and should not be tolerated by the city council.
Troutdale resident Marni Zollinger: any person should have expected ethical treatment from this mayor. I did not. I expect your resignation. I am calling for it.
Troutdale resident John Wilson: I know where Jim is coming from when promoting city. Sometimes you must not wait for permission. I respect entire city council but kight is only one banging drums for the city. We all need to get this behind us. City staff..d if they have problem with mayor.. People that work for them.. strong people. Ii don’t know how someone could intimidate staff.
citizen K. Mingus(? guessing at spelling of name!):Fostered a lot of kids..Worked with kids. Micromanaging…they are distracting. Over focus on things makes things worse. Had kids I might have clashed with.. sets up.invited other problems. My point..kight..You have a different type of personality. I like your heart, perseverance…on balance… as adults we need to be like parents.. Need to be careful about how we are treating one another. Maybe we need a refresher course in how we’re treating people. Find a solution. It’s not always kicking people o ut. If you remove them.. Nothing gets dealt with. I don’t agree with people that want resignation.
citizen Ed Kofer(guessing at spelling of name): if anybody builds a structure not allowed in flood plain they should be required to tear it down.
Troutdale resident Kristine Jacobson (another guess at name spelling). How can you honestly stand before all these people and say the house is a shed. I feel in small town like Troutdale you are using yourplitical power for personal gain.
Karen -West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce…(read someones nomination of Kight as Troutdale citizen of year)
Troutdale Mayor Jum Kight: (reads from written prepared statement.) Common ground but also things that need to be revealed. Things that have been suppressed to protect city’s credibility. Appears that political campaign for mayor has already begun. Intended to defame slander mayor and take him out of running for election. Half truths and outright lies. I will highlitht most important.
Building—we built building because we have a business. Home based business. My wife had no desk space. Coffee table.. Wherever she needs space. It’s a mess. Remove business activity from our home environment so there cold e separation of activities. When we decided to build accessory structure we hired a general contractor. We wanted d arms length transaction between project and city staff. I knew early on that my position as city councilor I would be under intense scrutiny. I wanted to protect city employees from criticism as well as my own reputation. Buildingprojectg is very complex. Building dept functions under state law. Planning dept=Troutdale laws. Fed regulations..Supersede local and state. In conflict with one another. Many contractors will refuse to build structures in flood plain.
We were lucky to find a contractor who had experience building in flood plain.
Building was designed by professionals. Wanted structure that complemented neighborhood. Another Troutdale mayor had same idea when he built English Tudor when he built his property. Our building looks just like a house. That was intended desire. We wanted appearance to match our home.. Painted same color so they all match.
Facility does not have full cooking kitchen or fully functioning bedrooms. Designed as offices.
Desks tables… insert—some people call closets..We wanted them for filing cabinets. It does not serve as a dwelling because that is how it was designed. All permits submitted by general contractr,, approved by city. We have cert of occupancy for accessory building, not accessory dwelling.
Red version original design of building shows 1016 square feet. It was never designed for 700SF
Plans have signatures from all different departments in the city.
Most egregious statements….circumvent building codes…baseless, groundless, libelous comments. City employees took extra precautions to make sure everything done by code. Council should offer apology to city staff. Libel concludes with libel in Outlook. Council Doaust lack of knowledge…statement that lied to staff is comical. All changes to original plan are checked and signed off by city depts... Another libelous statement as quoted by councilor Daoust. You can’t build until you have approval.
Complaints—giving direction to city employee after charter change not true. City manager will attest my requests go to him and not city employees. Many complaints from months and years ago.. No supporting documents.
Recent example from norm Thomas giving direction to city staff, in direct violation of new charter... phone books in front of businesses that are closed… thomqas asked if police could issue citations for vacant property owners. Public works dept sent employees to walk downtown and pick up books Thomas—poor judgment and waste of time. Not the first time.
Appointment of mpac/jpact to metro. Asked by weatherby to appear as mpact alternate. Later he wanted to resign and asked if I would continue to serve as primary. Ripma on mpac.serious problems—embarassment from mpac.. Mayor approached (Metro Councilor) Rod Park.. All mayors decided ripma not appropriate and e was removed..--- Mayors took over that post. I asked council to be appointed.. They all approved—city council next council—total reversal and councilor Thomas was appointed. Lobbying by ripma to garner their support.. Happened quickly… reversed previous council decision. Ripma took it upon himself to gains support for another city councilor. Councilor recruited by ripma had no experience with issues. Indicating interest—councilor has attended not one meeting. Never appeared before Troutdale council to describe qualifications. Other cities would have been better served by more experienced person.
Last allegation..Money spent for facilitator… members of council have selective memory main reason we hired facilitator to address Hartmann issue. Daoust, white met with same councilor and he resigned. All other allegations were from a year ago or more. Since charter change, things have changed. Sure other attacks will be made on me to pursue their own political agenda. If they had come to me these issue could have been resolved. It is my hope there will be reflection on part of other councilors...youdont represent yourselves in eyes of community by tearing down other people.
City Councilor Daoust: That was very good that is what I expected. I heard what you had to say. Because that’s what we always hear. Jim denying everything. Not apologizing, not seeing his ways, this is always over the years have gotten back when we tried to approach him. Glen and I called him and tried to meet him he couldn’t do it we had exec session with him in private that issues could have been resolved but they went because we got the same identical response in private. To the point we just do not believe our mayor we do not trust our mayor. The fact he called our allegations full of lies... I told everybody before we have docs to back them up. Glen and I met with city staff before this boiled over. Got input from city staff, this is nbot the city council making things up. We do not have the goal of trying to destroy personality that is Jim kight. Glen and I saw original plans that showed a 768 sf shed. Those are original plans not what he showed. Original plans sept 12007 shed one great big room. He called it one big open room. On blocks. Things changed. June 2008... May 08 due to concerns about what was being built additional site plans were dropped off. Timeline provided by staff. June 08 stop work order. The week before site visit was made and concrete basement already poured. Plans he showed you were y poured and plans were all in. Plans he showed you were from June 08.
He was banking on it doesn’t qualify as a house. Not full kitchen, no doors on closet. Only things missing. Last week, I saw the videos. He just shows office space and office furniture. Didn’t show kitchen, bathroom, or full basement. Mike Goss helped him make a video. Last week he got a certificate of occupancy that he requested that he showed in front of the camera. To say he hired a general contractor to keep arms length away? We know Jim, that’s funny, to say that Jim would keep an arm’s length from anything. A lot of meetings that were held with city staff were held with kights name on it. I have a hard time sitting here where we hear the same things from Jim and nothing will be done.
Troutdale City Councilor White: I agree with Doug I saw original plans. They are different. As for Jims comment we should have came to him... we did. We did everything to keep this private. No effort was made to talk to people he attack during his response. Goes against team spirit and trust. I worry about staff. I want to know city staff we will back them up.
MayorKight: We could go tit for tat.. Contractor requested certificate of occupancy.
Troutdale City Councilor David Ripma: no comment.
Troutdale City Councilor NormThomas: what happened with phone book I was approached by business person. I called public works director asked him what could be done I didn’t call police and ask for citations. Charlie warren picked up books and discarded them. There were misunderstandings. I have since called not only city manager, Charlie warren and city councilors and apologized for my actions. I don’t’ want to go into tit for tat. There are things that can be resolved and I would hope mayor would work with us. Last thing I want to see is dysfunctional council. Spent time in executive sessions o it wouldn’t come out in public I don’t think it’s beneficial to do that. I feel that as an elected official we need to go with the charter.
Troutdale City Councilor Eric Anderson: limited history. On council. If this were private sector position in this were an evaluation, comment would be this is not a good fit. Phenomenal as cheerleader, promoter. But you ran for mayor and there are procedures policies and a level of conduct that must be followed, I can’t behave poorly as official as rep of city of Troutdale. I can’t engage in conduct that would be detrimental. Can’t put my family in that position. Resolution, rhetoric is sad but necessary. It my hope that for your remaining months that we take something from this and look in the mirror and try to see what were are talking about I pray that that happens. There is procedure and behavior that we all have to look up to.
Mayor Kight: Maybe this is a fork in the road. We are not unlike a family. Different personality with you may not get along with them but. I will work so that we can work together as a city council to get things done. If we take the same energy that we saw here tonight it would be amazing what we can accomplish. Hopefully we can all go from a clean slate and what can we come up with together for solutions...such as city streets. If we ignore it costs triple...Marino block... eyesore... seek developers dfont leave it up to other members oc council or staff. Urban renewal. Look for grant money we can use to clean up site.. Don’t always leave everything up to staff they are overburdened. The arch we have $300,000 arch and at night you can’t see it go look for donation money. I have. $2500 already received. Those kinds of things what counts. Community needs hope and leadership. Maybe tonight we can start that process if I as a mayor have overstepped my bounds I apologize to city staff and from this day forward I will work fervently work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. From now on everything will go through city manager. With everything said...
Councilor Daoust: move we adopt resolution. (Councilor White seconds the motion- moiton passes unanimously, even Mayor Kight votes yes)
Councilor Daoust: I would like to schedule a follow up meeting... a workship meeting with council and mayor to follow up with this resolution that just passed. To clarify any corrective action that city council may want to take I don’t know it is that clear. Need to clarify issues so this ball doesn’t get dropped.
Mayor Kight: I agree. Not sure what is being asked by council so I support your idea of work session.
(end of discussion, voting on resolution).
City Council takes 10 minute break, end