The Times 

Concern over council member's ethics

 

February 16, 2023



Dayton deserves great leadership. The City Council members were elected or appointed to handle our tax money and make responsible decisions in the best interest for the City of Dayton. As an elected official in local government, you are responsible for conducting yourself in council and in public with respect and dignity. To ensure you have a complete understanding of acceptable behavior, each of you were required to read, to sign, and to uphold the guidelines within the ethics handbook. I am writing this letter because the council members and the public need to be made aware of Laura Aukerman’s misconduct. 

As our elected officials and as members of our town you have a responsibility to hold yourself to a much higher standard. Part of your job, holding a local government seat, is knowing that people will question you and possibly criticize your decisions or actions. As adults, you must function with a level of maturity, respect, and professionalism. The job of the public is to hold our elected officials accountable when they exhibit poor judgment or unprofessional conduct. The public should be able to trust their local officials, but where there is no integrity, there can be no trust.

On the subject of integrity, it is my understanding that a Public Records Request was submitted asking for Laura Aukerman’s City Council Facebook posts and comment feeds. Mrs. Aukerman has refused to comply with this request. Again, in your ethics handbook section #15, page 10 under Social Media Usage, it clearly states: “your social media posts and comments qualify as public records that must be retained, disclosed, or modified in order to comply with state and federal law as well as City Council policy and rules. This is true even for your personal Facebook page if you discuss city business.” Clearly, she is in violation of the Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act. I know Mrs. Aukerman has been asked and encouraged to comply with the state and federal law, so what is she hiding on her social media, and why won’t she comply? 

Due to Laura Aukerman’s misconduct with decorum, social media usage, and the code of ethics in its entirety, I ask the council and Mayor to sanction Laura Aukerman. Hold her accountable for her behavior and for tarnishing the elected seat she holds. Dayton deserves great leadership.

Elise Severe

Dayton, Wash.

 

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