The Bonney Lake City Council voted 4-1 Monday night to allow existing employees within the police department who are promoted to civil service-exempt positions to retain their for-cause job protection.
The implication means that Interim Police Chief Dana Powers would be able to retain the job protection she sought pending an appointment by Mayor Neil Johnson to the permanent chief's position.
Powers was appointed interim chief last August. According to City Council agenda documents (AB12-133), Johnson intended to appoint her as regular chief but Powers had requested 'bumping rights' (or reassignment back to assistant chief) should the mayor opt to install a new chief in the future.
Councilmembers Donn Lewis and James Rackley were excused from the meeting. Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman, who opposed the related ordinance, reaffirmed his support for the current administration and for Powers but emphasized his concern was for a future administration. When voters elect a mayor, "the mayor is the chief executive of the city," he said. "And the mayor should have the authority as the unitary executive to be able to execute and be accountable" to voters.
Swatman said he advocated an employment contract for positions such as that of the police chief and even the city administrator. He also pointed out the related ordinance now changes civil service protections not only for the chief's position but three positions in the department.
He also expressed concerns over what implications this may have with future employee issues of insubordination or poor job performance.
Councilmember Katrina Minton-Davis said though she was undecided at the time the issue was discussed in workshop, she would go with the Mayor on this one. Addressing concerns about job performance, she said the employees in question would have already been in civil service and worked their way up the ranks beginning from a probationary period.
"It's a great ordinance and I'm glad we're doing this," said Councilmember Tom Watson.
City Administrator Don Morrison told Patch last week the ordinance applies only when the mayor proposes to hire someone from within that's already in the civil service. The exempt status holds when a candidate is appointed from outside.
In Other News:
Historical Society Appreciation: Winona Jacobsen, representing the Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society, bestowed on Councilmember Mark Hamilton the first annual Mili-bear Award for his role in helping to organize the inaugural Milotte Wildlife Film Festival last weekend that celebrated the works of former residents Alfred and Elma Milotte.
"I'm speechless," Hamilton joked. "The entire group came together and really took up the challenge. Congratulations to all the members of the Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society ... they really took it on and with an open mind and worked very, very hard. This should be shared with all of us. You did a wonderful job."
Upcoming Public Hearings: Two public hearings have been scheduled for proposed ordinance D12-148, Establishing Pre-Annexation Zoning for Falling Water Subdivision and Identifying the Falling Water Subdivision and the Tehaleh Planned Community as 'Proposed UGA' on the city's future land use map. They are:
- Nov. 6 at 5:30 p.m.
- Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.