The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
the Times 

Dayton City Council Update

September 11, 2019

 

September 19, 2019



DAYTON—There was no unfinished or new business at the Dayton City Council meeting last week.

The majority of the meeting time was spent addressing a letter written by Dayton residents Chuck and Peggy James about the alleged lack of qualifications of the City’s new Planner, Meagan Bailey, and the allegedly poor conduct of the City’s Administrator, Trina Cole, when Ms. James reached out to her by phone, the first week of September. The James’ letter was published in the Dayton Chronicle on Sept. 12.

Councilman Mike Paris said, “I was appalled when I saw the letter and the things that were said. It was a character assassination, as far as I was concerned.”

Paris said he was in the office at the City Hall when a phone call between Cole and Ms. James took place. He said he never heard Cole saying anything out of line.

“She finally got frustrated to the point that she said she was going to talk to an attorney, and I don’t blame her,” Paris said.

Former City Councilwoman Kathy Berg said, “It’s deplorable to make accusations about people you haven’t met . . . there is a very negative current in the city, right now, and it is very sad to see individuals make such callous comments, mostly because of vicious hearsay.”

Supporters of Bailey and Cole were many and they included; Kari Dingman from WDFW and the Port’s Economic Development Coordinator Kathryn Witherington, both of whom serve on the Dayton Planning Commission, the Port’s Executive Director Jennie Dickinson, Mike Smith, Chairperson of the Historic Preservation Commission, along with the Dayton City Council, and the Mayor, Zac Weatherford.

“As far as hiring Meagan, I made that decision,” said Mayor Weatherford.

He said a committee was formed with representation from the Public Works Department and the planning committee, and included the deputy clerk.

All three applicants for the position were extensively interviewed by the committee, and they were all treated equally, he said.

“I have faith in Meagan. I think she will do a great job for the city and I hope she is very successful here. I think Trina does a good job for the City, and I will back her,” he said. “I will back all my staff unless they give me a reason not to,” Mayor Weatherford said.

Chuck and Peggy James, who were at the meeting, presented the council with what they said was a revised letter.

Ms. James said, “If we don’t say anything, if we don’t ask questions we never hear the answers and that’s all we were doing.”

The James’ daughter, Cara, is running against incumbent Dain Nysoe in the November General Election.

County Commissioner Ryan Rundell congratulated the City for hiring Bailey on a full time basis. Bailey had been splitting her time between the county and city.

Mayor Weatherford thanked the Board of County Commissioners for their support and expressed the desire to continue their good working relationship, to which Commissioner Rundell replied, “We do, too.”

Other city council news

Mayor Weatherford read a letter from Dayton resident Art Hall about some public health concerns he has around the smell and the number of flies coming from a commercial refuse collection semi-truck parked close to his property every Sunday. Brenda Hall and Johnny Johnson also talked about the issue.

Mayor Weatherford said their complaints have been forwarded to the Code Enforcement Department. “It is something we are definitely looking into,” he told them.

Resident JJ Dipple asked if the council is following up on some issues she has had with fireworks during the 4th of July. Councilman Dain Nysoe said the Safety Committee has not yet met. “We’ll be meeting and we will be glad to get back to you,” he told Dippel.

Mayor Weatherford said, at the first of the year he and the Planning Director will be reorganizing council committees, to align them with sections in the City of Dayton Comprehensive Plan, which will provide for an improved and stronger focus.

Public Works Director Jim Costello said Allen “AJ” Walker has been hired in that department for the Sunday through Wednesday shift.

Costello said he has met with Anderson/Perry & Associates regarding the E. Clay St. project and a tentative plan has been made for the area between E. 7th St. and E. 8th St. He said the project has gone out to bid.

“I want to make sure everything underneath the street is good before we go and put a bunch of money into resurfacing them, or completely rebuilding them,” he said about E. Clay St.

 

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