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PDC drops complaint against Noble

Cheryle Noble -
Cheryle Noble
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Commission investigation of Young and Donyes still on the burner

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

A complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission by Mayor Bob Young against Councilwoman Cheryle Noble has been dismissed without an investigation.

Young filed the complaint over an article Noble wrote in a September edition of the Council Corner newsletter. Noble wrote too many employees had left the city and the council should look into the issue.

Young felt the article was too critical of his administration and helpful to Neil Johnson's campaign.

The mayor lost his bid for a third term as mayor, finishing third in September's primary election. Johnson won the primary and general election.

Phil Stutzman, director of compliance at the PDC, wrote a letter addressed to Young and sent a copy to Noble stating:

“The Council Corner is a regularly scheduled newsletter for the Bonney Lake City Council. The article in question does not warrant an investigation simply because it mentions your name. The article does not appear to assist any candidate's election campaign. Thus, the PDC will not be investigating your complaint.”

Noble said she was happy the issue was settled so quickly.

“I wasn't surprised,” Noble said. “I didn't write it to be an endorsement of a candidate. The employee issue (in the city) has been ongoing. I've been very public for years about how we have lost so many employees. I think our employees are well compensated, so it comes down to leadership.”

Young first sent the complaint against Noble to Audit Manager Mark Rapozo in the state auditor's office in Tacoma and later filed a complaint with the commission Nov. 7.

According to Rapozo, the auditor's office will request the PDC findings. The office was looking into the complaint, but first defers to the commission.

“If the PDC feels there is no violation,” Rapozo said, “we will have to take that into consideration.”

The auditor's office looks into campaign and electioneering violations involving misuse of government funds, Rapozo said.

According to the commission Web site, there are two active investigations against Bonney Lake candidates. One is a complaint filed Oct. 17 by Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman against Melvain Donyes concerning proper filing of contributions during their City Council At Large No. 1 race.

John Merrell filed the other complaint Sept. 2 against Bob Young concerning payment for lost wages. During his campaign, Young paid himself $5,250 from campaign donations claiming he lost wages while campaigning.

Young defended his action stating he checked out the payments with the commission before drawing the money. He also said he needed the money to campaign and work as mayor.

Lori Anderson, spokesman for the commission, said those investigations are continuing.

Commission violations are civil and usually involve warning letters or fines.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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