Favoritism charged in nominating procedure

Sammamish City Council member Ramiro Valderrama charged that Mayor Tom Vance played favorites in calling on Council Member Tom Odell to nominate Council Member Kathy Huckabay first for Deputy Mayor at the Jan. 6 city council meeting.

Valderrama claimed he hit the call button first and that he was watching down the line for other council members to do the same–and none did.

The call button is a process by which a council member signals to the mayor he or she wants to speak and the process calls for the mayor to call on the council member in order.

The issue here is that under the city process for selecting the mayor or deputy mayor, the person nominated gets voted on first. If this person gets a majority of votes, no more votes are taken.

Valderrama nominated Council Member Don Gerend, but because Odell’s nomination of Huckabay was recognized and voted upon first, and she received a majority of votes, Gerend’s nomination never was put to a vote.

Now that the video of the council meeting is up on the city’s web site, closely reviewing it shows that Odell reached forward, possibly to press his call button, moments before Vance opened the subject of nominating the deputy mayor at 5:20 in the video. Odell then raised his right arm to his chin, where it remained until Vance actually called for nominations. Valderrama claims he pressed his call button on Vance’s call for nominations, and closely reviewing the video indicates he leaned forward but as the buttons are behind the podium, it isn’t shown if he did hit the button.

When Vance made the call, he looked to his left. Member Nancy Whitten was seated to Vance’s immediate left with her hand raised. Vance looked to his right. Odell, to the far right, raised his hand from his chin for recognition and Vance called on Odell, who placed Huckabay’s name in nomination.

At no time up until then can Odell be seen reaching for the call button, his body posture remaining unchanged from the start of the sequence.

Valderrama charges that the voting procedure Tuesday night was pre-arranged to assure Huckabay’s nomination came up for vote first.

Whitten objected to the entire procedure on a point of order.

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5 Responses to Favoritism charged in nominating procedure

  1. Ramiro says:

    Should note Council member Whitten originally made the charge of favoritism at the time of the nominations to Councilmember/Mayor Vance in selecting Odell over Whitten for nomination despite her hand being up and in his face first.

  2. Stan Gunno says:

    I agree. The he has created expenses for the City and show favoritism on a lot of matters. I for one is extremely disappointed the his leadership. The sooner we break down into Districts/Areas and elect Councilmembers the better. It will be less expensive to campaign and easier to reach out to everyone in the District/Area. Oh, wait I remember Councilmember O’Dell making the comment if the citizens don’t like what we are doing they can vote us out. Well that may happen if the citizens would pay a little more attention. Temper temper Mayor Vance don’t want you to blow a gasket.

  3. Megan Gee says:

    I have spent years working with the city and I get more and more discouraged as time passes. Most people in this city don’t pay attention to what’s going on and don’t care, If the satisfaction survey the city touted so proudly a few months ago required that people who were surveyed had to be able to name one council member, the results would have been vastly different. People who know how this city works are NOT happy and continue to grow more and more disillusioned, but until we have 4 city council members with integrity, nothing will change. The process is corrupt and the city is run by the staff, period!

    • Stan Gunno says:

      The City is ran by the Staff. If you don’t believe it watch the Planning Commission. It is a joke. The Staff direct them and they eat it up.

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