The prosecutor's office has made a decision on the case against the City of Winlock. Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer's decision was no illegal activities. The investigator only spoke with one side of the investigation, he did not speak with the individual who filed the complaint.
These claims include staff not following city ordinances, Mayor Bradshaw not following city ordinances, city council not following ordinances, Winlock Police Department violating civil rights of an individual and not following city ordinances. Also included were claims of violations of the Open Public Meeting Act also known as OPMA by Winlock City Council.
According to the information received, the City of Winlock code enforcement officer removed a sign from a citizen's yard without following the city ordinance. The sign was against Mayor Bradshaw and the City Council. The citizen called the non emergency line for Lewis County. Chief Valentine called the citizen, said he would look into it, yet he never got back to the them. There was even a witness to the theft but the witness was not contacted. The citizen went to retrieve their sign and was told "we did you a favor." The city has an ordinance which it did not follow. If the city does not have to follow the law then why do the citizens?
Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer found nothing illegal with the code enforcement officer entering private property without authorization. Meyer found nothing illegal with the code enforcement officer taking a sign without proper legal notice. How is this acceptable?
If they came onto your property, took anything; a Lewis County deputy would arrive and the the Lewis County Prosecutor would file theft charges at a minimum. Meyer does not see this as a violation of theft and trespassing then maybe the Washington State Attorney General will.
Mayor Bradshaw continually breaks ordinance 984 which requires he must get council approval prior to hiring. Once an individual is already on payroll, then Mayor Bradshaw brings the new hire to council for approval. The ordinance is clear, the mayor must get permission to hire. The city council bears responsibility with this as well. They approve it even though they know the ordinance states differently. They do not review the qualifications, they just approve whomever the mayor would like City Council just approved another employee who did not meet the minimum requirements after Bradshaw had hired her. Again, if the mayor and city council do not follow the ordinances then why should the citizens?
There were also several claims of gifting of public funds. The prosecutor ruled Police Officer Curtis Flatray who works on the weekends and lives in the community building only during his 3 days on duty is not gifting of public funds. The officer is doing the city a service for sleeping and unlocking the door. No other employees have free housing which includes water, sewer, electricity and garbage. The citizens of Winlock are not only paying wages, they are now paying for employees to sleep as a private citizen. As a citizen, you should ask your city council at the next meeting if you can have the same deal for the 4 days he is not at work, you are at least a citizen and paying into the financial welfare of the city.
One of the claims was a civil rights violation. The mayor ordered the Winlock Police Department to continually remove an individual from City Hall, a violation of his civil rights. City Hall is a public building, all individuals have the right to enter unless a court order prohibits it. The Winlock Police Department violated an individual's civil rights and the Prosecutor did not find this to be illegal. What the Prosecutor did was contact the city attorney who eventually lifted this individuals ban from city hall. The ban was ordered by the Mayor. The prosecutor did not find anything illegal in violating a person's civil rights, instead he choose to fix it.
The whistleblower stated, "I was never interviewed prior to the completion of the investigation nor were any witnesses that I am aware of." The Mayor and the City Attorney's were all interviewed.
If the Investigators did not interview the Individual who filed the complaint, then isn't this conclusion one sided? Isn't it the responsibility of the investigator to verify information? How is it possible that a city can continually violate individual rights and break city laws and the Prosecutor Office not do their job? Is the Prosecutor's Office planning "to fix" every issue instead of helping the citizens in Winlock maintain their civil rights?
"In regards to the law, the prosecuting attorney, is an elected official. We, as the county commissioners, cannot enter into a discussion regarding the law. The prosecuting attorney has a specific job of interpreting the law. The commissioners are not the law authority in the county," said Lewis County Commissioner Gary Stamper.
Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer does not prosecute any more. For example, he did not prosecute a heinous murder near Packwood. Instead he pled it down to 20 years.
Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, you have failed the citizens of Winlock. You have failed to act according to the law. Shame on you!