Opponent files PDC complaint against mayor
Last updated 10/31/2013 at 11:44am
Mayoral challenger Greg Wilder says he has filed a complaint against Coulee Dam Mayor Quincy Snow with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, contending that Snow used his office and town resources to support his own campaign efforts.
Contacted for comment, Snow said he didn’t use town facilities for campaign purposes.
Snow, Wilder charged, requested public records on Wilder from the city of LaCenter and made the request in his official capacity as mayor, using the town’s e-mail and telephone to try to find material that was detrimental to Wilder’s campaign.
Wilder worked for the city of LaCenter and was dismissed at the end of a six-month probationary period in 2003. An e-mail record Wilder received from LaCenter indicates Snow asked in July why Wilder “was fired,” and noted that Wilder was running for mayor.
Wilder contends that request was clearly political in nature.
State law makes it illegal to use a public agency’s resources “for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office.”
In his PDC complaint, an email Wilder obtained from LaCenter, labeled “Exhibit A,” is a public records request from email@example.com, sent July 26, 2013, to Finance Director Suzanne Levis, stating: “I would like to get any and all records pertaining to Greg Wilder when he worked for LaCenter and also why he was fired. We are having trouble with him in our Town of Coulee Dam where he is now living. He is actually running for mayor. Thank you for any help you can give me.” It’s signed Quincy Snow, Mayor, Coulee Dam, WA.
In response, LaCenter’s attorney stated that he had found “two bankers boxes and the hard drive from Mr. Wilder’s computer while he was employed by the city. Mr. Wilder served as public works director for approximately six months in 2002-2003 and was dismissed at the end of his 6-month probation period. We estimate there to be approximately 1000 pages of documents plus whatever material is on the hard drive.”
A subsequent email to Snow from a La Center official indicates Snow rescinded his public records request Aug. 2.
Wilder also charged that the town wasn’t forthcoming when he made requests for public records, including for emails sent asking about Wilder. He cited instances when the response was: “There are no identifiable records responsive to this request.”
Snow had a quick response when asked about the complaint.
“I didn’t use town facilities, I called by phone,” Snow stated. “We aren’t going to give him anymore public disclosures, he’s got his limit. I have told the clerk not to give him any more, he’s just going nuts with it.”
Wilder has filed many requests with the town for public records in the past couple years, most for information on a proposed sewer plant refurbishment he opposes.
On Friday he filed two more, regarding the town’s ownership of the “couleedam.org” Internet domain name, and telephone billing records in July and August.