Serving Franklin County, WA

Commissioners stop short of firing Johnson

Mullen makes statement on county administrator decision

PASCO — Franklin County Administrator Keith Johnson will keep his job.

County commissioners today, April 13, decided not to resume discussion on terminating the county’s top manager after the issue was tabled last week. The motion to fire Johnson last week was the second the administrator had faced in two months.

After commissioners declined to resume the debate, Commissioner Rocky Mullen made a brief statement on his decision not to pursue his motion to fire Johnson last week.

Mullen said he had met with Johnson last Wednesday and that they reached a “mutual decision to work together.”

“I gave my word to Mr. Johnson that I would work with him,” he said. “I have to stand by my word.”

Johnson remained silent during the discussion, as did County Chairman Clint Didier, who made the first motion in February to fire the administrator.

Mullen said he made the motion to fire Johnson the administrator’s failure to communicate equally with all commissioners.

“My main concern is that I was not receiving or being updated on information in this county,” he said, noting commissioners rely on the administrator for information, as state law makes it illegal for a quorum of elected board members to take action outside a public meeting.

The Revised Code of Washington defines action to include simple discussion, electronic communications, voting and more.

“Mr. Johnson has assured me all county information will given equally to all commissioners,” Mullen said, adding he just wants all commissioners to work together.

While Johnson can provide information directly to all of the commissioners, it’s illegal for him to “poll” a quorum outside of a public meeting.

Commissioner Lowell "Brad" Peck generally avoided the issue, except to recite Robert's Rules of Orders and generically address the state open public meetings law.

— The story was posted prior to the end of the meeting. Public comment on the possible termination had not yet occurred.

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Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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