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October 17, 2019 | 4:49pm
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Results of investigations into council member’s ethics complaints released

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FERNDALE, Wash. — A special meeting of the Ferndale City Council has been scheduled for 11am on Wednesday, October 2nd, in the City Hall Main Conference Room in order to form ad-hoc committee(s) to review the results from 2 investigative reports into 2 ethics complaints against Mayor Jon Mutchler and 1 ethics complaint against Councilmember Rebecca Xczar. All 3 complaints were filed by Councilmember Keith Olson. The committees, either 1 or 2, would be each made up of 3 councilmembers who will then develop recommendations for further actions, if any, and bring them to the full council.

Olson accused Mutchler of

  1. Violating RCW 42.17A.555 by displaying a campaign sign on his car while parked in the City Hall parking lot.
  2. Violating the Ferndale City Council Rules of Procedure & Ethics Handbook section on “Undue Influence” by his conduct in a meeting between a family member accused of a crime, the accuser and the accuser’s pastor and by misleading Ferndale Police personnel into believing he had retained Ferndale City Municipal Court Judge Mark Kaiman to represent him.

Olson accused Xczar of

  1. Violating the Ferndale City Council Rules of Procedure & Ethics Handbook by writing a resolution containing hidden profanity unbeknownst to other councilmembers who voted to approve it.

According to the staff report on the agenda for Wednesday’s Special Meeting of the City Council,

City Attorney Dannon Traxler investigated the complaint against Councilmember Xczar and determined that two limited violations occurred. Although no further disciplinary action is recommended by Traxler, the Ethics Handbook dictates that an Ad-Hoc Committee must be formed to review the attorney’s report and make a recommendation to the full Council.

Scott Snyder of Ogden, Murphy & Wallace conducted the investigation of the two complaints filed against Mayor Mutchler. He concluded that the compliant regarding an attempt to interfere in a police investigation was unfounded; however, there was a technical violation regarding the political signs complaint. Therefore, an Ad-Hoc Committee must be formed to review the attorney’s report and make a recommendation to the full Council.

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Traxler clarified, “I am recommending no further disciplinary actions, because of the actions already taken by Council in this matter, as well as the actions taken by Ms. Xczar on her own.”

The ad-hoc committee(s) will consider the investigators’ reports and recommendations and then will make their own recommendations to the full council.

The investigation reports will be made public after the ad hoc committee(s) have made their recommendations according to city staff.

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