Panel to Recommend Harris Receive Reprimand, Removal from Boards

by lewwaters

In a meeting lasting almost an hour, 3 Vancouver council members settled on a recommendation of fellow council member Jeanne Harris, receive a letter of reprimand and be removed from all boards she currently sits on, representing the city council and that they appointed her to, for her disrespectful behavior displayed September 13, 2010. VIDEO

Boards she sits on where she received a gubernatorial appointment (CRC) are not affected as it was felt they are outside the scope of the city council.

It was determined early on, with advice from city attorney Ted Gathe, that Harris’ disrespectful interaction with citizens is not covered by the current ethics policy. Councilman Burkman recommended council revisit it to update the ethics policy to include how members of the public are treated.

Council members stated they felt her actions the evening of September 13 were “demeaning,” “disturbing” and “highly inappropriate,” towards Mayor Leavitt and Council member Jeanne E. Stewart.

Removal from office was also ruled out early as the threshold for such action was not met, Gathe advised. He stated to reach that high threshold would take something along the lines of committing an actual crime.

The panel broke it down to 4 areas of concern, 1: Her conduct towards the public, which is not addressed by current policy. 2: Her conduct towards Jeanne Stewart during the meeting deemed inappropriate. 3: Her interference with the Mayors duty in conducting the meeting deemed inappropriate. 4: Her confrontation with Jeanne Stewart after the meeting also deemed inappropriate.

Discussion fell onto whether she should receive a letter of reprimand or a censure and it was determined there was not a lot of difference between the two. A letter of reprimand was deemed appropriate. Mayor Pro Tem Larry Smith stated he wanted more than just a “slap on the wrist” and Pat Campbell added he too wanted to give the letter “some teeth” behind it.

Jack Burkman said there few sanctions available they could use and then it was decided they would recommend she be removed from all boards she was appointed to by the council until she is up for reelection in 2013.

If the full council votes to accept the panel’s recommendation, it would be effective immediately.

Pat Campbell added that citizens should “stay tuned” and follow her for when she is up for reelection, as he felt that her conduct is not a matter for recall.

The panel hopes to wrap it up at the October 11 council meeting.

The Columbian’s Andrea Damewood published her take HERE with more to come in Friday’s paper.

KGW TV adds quotes from citizens present.

“They’re going to smack her on the hand, she’s going to turn around and walk away,” said Stephanie Turlay. “They will not stand up and do what really needs to be done.”

“She needs to go,” said Josephine Wentzel. “If she doesn’t resign she needs to be taken out, we need to recall her.”

16 Comments to “Panel to Recommend Harris Receive Reprimand, Removal from Boards”

  1. We need to find a good candidate to run against her in 2013. We just need to recirculate this video to remind people of her unfitness to serve.

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  2. This video and these posts will remain for as long as there is an internet.

    Unbelievable, in the Columbian comments, there is actually a couple defending her outrageous behavior.

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  3. Good news. I am glad she is off the Ctran board and RTC board. Call the Governor and have her removed from CRC.

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  4. I don’t think anybody knows just yet about her seat on the CRC. The panel admitted last night they cannot do anything on that and when was the last time Gregoire paid any attention to taxpaying citizens?

    But, you are right, she should lose that seat as well.

    In 2013, if she doesn’t resign before, she should lose her seat on the city council.

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  5. Jeanne Harris needs to be removed from her chair not in two and half years but now. She works for us, the citizens of Vancouver she is not the princess of Vancouver her actions are unacceptable. As a nation we are tired of our voice not being heard and I’m not going to except it from my own city council. My government will stop treating its employers like scum. I would be fired if I spoke to my boss with such distaste.

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  6. Nicole, I hear what you are saying but the city council ethics panel has suggested that they cannot remove her because the level of her conduct, though it may have been specious does not rise to the level of a criminal act.

    Now there are two options, which I do not know if there is a the political will or financial resources to do. One would be a group of citizen’s standing up, pooling their own private resources and recalling her, through the recall process.

    Or the second one, let her wallow on the council for the next 15 months with no committee assignments that are city controlled only until the next round of elections and the new board assignments are decided in spring 2011 or 2012? I doubt they are ever going to allow her to do much more than the casting lure or the tree society committee with charles ray….

    Really, one could her sit there in shame like a weak puppy while wallowing and blasting her for the rest of her term with email, phone calls and letters, but would good would that really serve?

    OR the real more honorable thing to do is working to get new fresh blood elected on the council at the next ballot time. Its about time now to start Bart Hansen election and others that will be coming up in 2011. So why waste the long arm of this situation on Harris and start energizing the voters with NEW candidates running for one of the three or four offices!?!?!

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  7. A well writen article Lew. I think when you are referring to her placement by Governor Gregoire on CRC you mean her assignment to the Project Sponsors Council.

    Here is the link:

    http://columbiarivercrossing.org/ProjectPartners/ProjectSponsorsCouncil.aspx

    I don’t think the Governor or the AWC (Association of Washington Cities) can be expected to take action until city council completes its action.

    We are intent on handling this civilly and legally.

    I am chagrined and surprised some folks who seem avid about supporting Constitutional government don’t want the go through the process. It also doesn’t help credibility to get 100-200 letters with the same three bullet points:

    1) Harris was totally off the charts.

    2) Mayor/councilors have no balls.

    3) Stewart is an angel.

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  8. Pat, I accept your correction on the gubantorial appointment she has. And, I agree, the governor can’t and shouldn’t do anything about that until after the council votes on this recommendation.

    As for comments from people, Jeanne Harris has to shoulder a lot of blame for their outrage over an elected official acting in such a manner.

    I do think Tim could have interceded with her, but he has his reasons, I’m sure. Then again, I’m sitting on the other side of the council too.

    I’m not going to touch the balls 😉

    I don’t know of anybody that thinks Jeanne Stewart is an angel, but she does come down on the side of many of us often. Still, as far as the events of Sept. 13 and a few earlier, Jeanne Harris was the one out of line, not Jeanne Stewart. I can only remind you of your own words, “I feel demeaned and disrespected in the way she was treating others. Just being there as a member of a body, I feel it was totally disrespectful.”

    As I keep saying, elected officials are elected to represent us, not dictate to us nor make all of the decisions that affect us. While most matters do not need to be placed before voters, something like the I-5 Bridge replacement with Light Rail from Portland and adding perpetual tolls on not only the new bridge, but an already paid for bridge that is estimated to cost in the Billions of Dollars, is something that should be a community decision, not left up to handful of people.

    The way the matter has been handled all of these years and citizens voices ignored and efforts to silence us smacks of a corrupt deal to line someone’s pockets with a lot of money. Not saying it is, but it does leave us with that impression especially since it has been voted down in the past.

    Once we are silenced and ignored, we cease to be a government “of the people, for the people and by the people.”

    You and I wore the uniform of those willing to give their life to protect that principle, Pat. Our forefathers fought a bloody revolution to give us that principle. We have young men and women serving right now in harm’s way fighting to preserve that principle.

    We expect our elected representatives to stand by that principle and if they are unwilling, should be replaced.

    Personally, I hope she sees the light when she returns and tenders her resignation. But, that is in her hands.

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  9. Pat,

    If you read my above and other posts here, I hope that they have fallen in line with your comments that Harris does have some form of Due Process rights and that they situation by the Ethic committee into a recommendation, that is forwarded to the City Council, debated and finally and resolutely passed.

    That will show the community what the council as a whole (minus Jeanne Harris) feels about what happened on that fateful day on September 13, 2010.

    And I Bet this three ringed circus that continues to go on does make the council blush to be made national superstars because of one council members deads and actions.

    As I said in my above opinion, there are two options, recall which probably is going to have a high cost and further embarassment to this community, resignation of Harris or the final one, which is to continue each and every week after she gets back creating another circus like atmosphere where she gets pummeled by citizens.

    Maybe this will wind down and when the next election comes forth, if she hasn’t resigned, she’ll face the ultimate judge of her job as a city council member and we’ll be the final judge as to what we feel is the best representation at the ballot box.

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  10. Good comments and points Lew and Jeremy. A recall is out according to our city attorney Ted Gathe and also my reading to the state recall law.

    The huge volume of those three bullet form letters and the profound nastiness of some of them are pretty wearing. Sorry I brought some of that feeling onto this blog which has been an exception.

    What I am seeing as far as elections and electability go is that one has to go very light on the negativity. With the current self-styled campaign managers in place, I think it will be a very, very steep uphill battle to replace council members or commissioners who want to stay on for another term. (There are some managers around who could do it with some of the R candidates I’ve met.)

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  11. Pat, I can make no excuses for people who are just plain nasty (and I know in some cases, that is mild).

    You wouldn’t believe the nastiness I have seen directed our way from the left at times, either. That is why I turned on comment moderation.

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  12. Sometimes I wish I could turn on “comment moderation” myself.

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  13. Well, a blog and a govermental panel are a bit different, but I understand too.

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  14. Pat, some times after seeing the upteenth same comment from the same person, some times I wonder about sending in Judge Harris for a gavel down session.

    But sadly we DO have a US constitution and several sets of laws that every citizen must abide by, so technically ththat comment moderation would not work on a government panel as I agree with Lou.

    But I sympathize with you and wish it were possible, as I listen to most council and board of clark county commissioner meetings. And some times the repetitiveness of the city council meetings do great the nerves of not just the elected officials but the virtual attendees as well.

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  15. I am putting a second post here because I need to clear up that my first paragraph is referring in a bad jokingly way to the gavel down incident.

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