February 19, 2014 | LXXIII, No. 37

Mayor, officer spar over report in news

Grand Coulee Mayor Chris Christopherson got another grilling from police officer Sean Cook Tuesday night after information in the city’s “Key report” was published in The Star newspaper, Feb. 12.

Cook had confronted the mayor at the city’s previous council meeting, Feb. 4, concerning a number of concerns he had raised earlier and the lack of responses he had received.

Tuesday night Cook was told he had five minutes to express his views. When he was told his time was up, he protested that the allotted time had not expired. Christopherson gave him two minutes more.

The mayor and officer Cook and their families had been friends for a number of years, and the confrontation over Cook’s concerns not being addressed appeared uncomfortable for both.

This time Cook asked who had given the report to The Star newspaper. The mayor responded, telling Cook that if he had any evidence of who gave the report to the newspaper he should say so.

Cook then asked Christopherson when he had found out that parts of the report were made public, saying that whoever released it had broken the law. Christopherson said he was informed by the city clerk on Tuesday, Feb. 18, that the report had been published.

Cook objected to a juvenile being identified in the report and the fact that he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. The Key report, developed nearly a year ago by Alan Key, an investigator for the city’s risk management firm, had a very limited distribution: to officials in the police department, to the mayor and to members of the city council.

Christopherson said he hadn’t discussed the report with The Star’s reporter when the two got together for a meeting on Sunday, Feb. 9.

Christopherson did at that time say that the report was “flawed” and that the city’s attorney called it a “bad report.”

The Sunday night meeting lasted over an hour, and Mayor Christopherson noted that the report stated that he had overstepped his grounds as mayor.

The Star received the report the next day.

The mayor had stated earlier that the “report was the report” and that the city needed to move forward. Christopherson said that he wasn’t going to ask for another report even though he had told Cook that he would try to get “errors” in the report changed.

The mayor had stated two weeks ago that “no one is going to lose their jobs over this report.”

Cook Tuesday night brought up something that happened in 2008. That brought a response from Councilmember David Tylor: “What can we do about something that happened that long ago?”

Cook replied, “I am worried about 2014, there’s a pattern here.”

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