Some Sequim city councilors supported fellow councilor Mike Pence Monday, April 12, after discrepancies on his résumé for a council seat were investigated in late March.
Mayor William Armacost read a statement to open the April 12 council meeting, saying, “For the past months, despite my denials, a few members of the public have falsely claimed that I support what is known as QAnon.
“Recently, many of those same individuals have falsely claimed that councilor Pence made misrepresentations on his application to become a member of this city council. They are so rabid as to characterize his statements as lies.”
Armacost added that Pence’s application was “accurate although somewhat confusing in describing the evolution of the Department of Public Works during his years of employment with the City of Liberty, Missouri.”
He made a motion to move public comment to the end of the meeting rather than the beginning because he anticipated “more of these venomous comments” that “detract from the business portion” of the meeting.
Fellow councilors Sarah Kincaid, Keith Larkin and Pence voted for the motion.
Larkin seconded Armacost’s motion but said he was reluctant to do so because he believes “it gives our citizens the opportunity to comment on agenda items” but he didn’t want distractions as they try to “take care of business” either.
Karen Hogan was one of the citizens to call for Pence’s resignation because she felt his résumé falsely lists his job titles including director of Public Works for the City of Liberty, Mo., from October 1988-October 2009.
During public comment on Monday, Hogan said those who voted to move the comment section “did a real serious blow to freedom of speech.”
She also expressed her concern if Pence can be trusted to hire a city manager after he misled people with his résumé and he was one of four to call for former city manager Charlie Bush’s resignation.
Hogan added that his involvement and actions will make it difficult to find city manager candidates.
Armacost later said an Liberty, Mo. employee was hired two years after Pence retired and she didn’t have access to archives or access and “spoke out of turn.”
He feels questioning Pence’s title was “totally out of line” because he did add “enhancements” to public works facilities.
In a previous interview, Liberty’s city recruitment coordinator Beth Vanderhoorn said Pence worked there from 1988-2009 and his title at retirement was public works maintenance supervisor. She said he was never titled public works director.
Previously, Steven Hansen, a former Liberty employee, said he was its public works director from 1994 to June 2016 and that Pence had “misrepresented himself.”
He said they were co-department heads with Pence leading utilities and maintenance before Hansen became Public Works director in 1994 when the department was created. Hansen was Pence’s supervisor where he was maintenance supervisor, he said.
In a previous interview, Pence confirmed he was director of utilities and community maintenance when hired there and that locals didn’t ask the city staff his title in 1988.
Records obtained through Liberty’s Deputy City Clerk Janet Pittman state Pence held titles as Director of Utilities and Maintenance from 1988-1994, Maintenance Superintendent from Jan. 1994-Nov. 1994, and Crew Leader/Maintenance Supervisor from Nov. 1994-Dec. 2009 when he retired.
Pence said he was not titled public works director and changed it on his application because “nobody knows what a director of utilities and community maintenance is.”
He said he doesn’t feel he misrepresented his work, and that his résumé was a summation of his highest qualifications.
Pence said he may have needed to be clearer on his application and that “most people know public works but they don’t know utilities and community maintenance.”
Laura Anderson, human resources director for the City of Mustang, Okla., confirmed Pence was the city’s public works director there, but she was unable to confirm start and end dates because paper files were destroyed due to water damage. She did confirm with the city’s former clerk that Pence held the position in 1987.
Pence listed his time there as public works director from June 1982-August 1987.
Pence did not speak about the résumé issue at Monday’s meeting. He said previously he plans to run for re-election.
Sequim’s city staff said Pence did not do anything illegal or violate council rules.
Councilors who opposed moving public comment — Rachel Anderson, Tom Ferrell and Brandon Janisse — did not comment about Pence’s résumé.
Anderson encouraged public speakers and concerned citizens to provide her and others with contact information to make it easier to reply.
Larkin said the public always has the ability to send letters to the council and “be assured we receive and read those.”
“We’re not attempting to stop people from providing public comment,” Larkin said. “We do appreciate their comments.”
City resident Nicole Hartman was one of three people to comment suggesting councilors consider adding public comment at the beginning and end because it might be more appropriate depending on agenda items.
Peninsula Daily News Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb contributed to this report.