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. Its 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 councils 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 councils 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 Freedmans resignation.
I didnt 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 youre going to start asking people to resign based on, well, I dont 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 wasnt 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 citys 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 Freedmans Cedar Ridge project was still pending.
Hays would not comment on Freedmans accusations.
I think we need a process.This gives the appearance that youre going to start asking people to resign based on, well, I dont know what.
Paul McHugh, Sequim City Councilor
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