Freedman to remain on Planning Commission

Sequim Planning Commission chairman Larry Freedman will continue to serve on the commission, at least until his term runs out at the end of this year. It’s unknown if he will remain chairman, however. The commission will hold its annual election for a chairman on Feb. 19.

During the Jan. 28 city council meeting, Freedman said he had been asked by Mayor Laura Dubois to resign from the Planning Commission.

“The mayor immediately pushed a paper in front of me and told me to sign it, resigning from the Planning Commission, effective immediately,” Freedman wrote in a statement that he read during the council’s Jan. 28 meeting.

Councilman Walt Schubert called for the matter to be a council agenda item for discussion but time ran out and the discussion was postponed until the council’s Feb. 11 meeting.

“Basically we never had a chance to discuss it as a council,” Schubert said. “I think we just need to air it out.”

Dubois said she did not demand Freedman’s resignation.

“I didn’t try to fire him,” Dubois said. “I did not demean him in any way.”

Councilman Paul McHugh said that he took issue with the way the matter had been handled, behind closed doors without many of the other council members’ knowledge. McHugh said that if Dubois or any other council member wanted a member of a committee or a member of staff to resign, the entire council should be made aware of this.

“I think we need a process,” McHugh said. “This gives the appearance that you’re going to start asking people to resign based on, well, I don’t know what.”

In light of Dubois’ conduct, McHugh eventually asked that she remove herself from sitting in on upcoming interviews for Planning Commission applicants.

Dubois said she would “consider it” but wasn’t ready to give an answer.

Freedman took issue with comments made by Councilman Ken Hays during the Jan. 28 meeting.

At that meeting, Hays said that Freedman, given his profession as a developer, was “fundamentally incapable” of serving on the commission objectively. Hays went on to say he had heard reports of Freedman manipulating fellow members of the city’s Affordable Housing Committee for his own benefit as a developer. Secondly, he accused Freedman of manipulating another decision on whether or not to build a rest stop at the interchange of U.S. Highway 101 and Simdars Road. And finally, Hays said that Freedman, while serving on the Planning Commission, had voted on a matter of rezoning concerning a property he was directly involved in with business partner Alan Grant.

Michael McAleer, in a written statement, said the property was under contract to Sean Ryan and Ron Robbins as of Sept. 21.

“Ron Robbins assigned his interest to Sean Ryan on Nov. 16. The city council held a public hearing on Nov. 26 and voted approval on Dec. 10. Not until Dec. 20 did Alan Grant enter the picture. On Dec. 20, 10 days after city council approval, Alan Grant began negotiations to create a partnership with Sean Ryan,” McAleer wrote.

McAleer was the real estate agent involved with the property in question.

Freedman characterized Hays’ comments as “accusations” that were “potentially slanderous,” then called into question Hays’ motives.

“In the last election, Alan Grant, with whom I am associated in business, and I opposed Hays vigorously because of his lack of control of his behavior and his disruptive behavior including his assault on a female worker of one of our four sub-contractors (Lakeside Industries) for which he was arrested,” said Freedman, adding that a lawsuit brought forth by Hays concerning Grant and Freedman’s Cedar Ridge project was still pending.

Hays would not comment on Freedman’s accusations.

“I think we need a process.This gives the appearance that you’re going to start asking people to resign based on, well, I don’t know what.”

— Paul McHugh, Sequim City Councilor

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