Letters to the Editor

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PUYALLUP: Mayor Hansen must resign

Letter by A. David Churchman, Puyallup on July 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm with 14 Comments »
July 9, 2012 3:01 pm

Re: “Puyallup mayor accepts sanction” (TNT, 7-7).

It is time for Puyallup Mayor Rick Hansen to resign. A city cannot have a mayor who inappropriately touches the female staff. What makes the matter absolutely disgusting is that in his own misguided plan to deflect blame, Hansen now claims to be ignorant of just who he groped. What discriminates this from a dubious “he said/she said” complaint is that there are independent witnesses.

So far, Hansen has received a damning letter of reprimand from the city manager and attended counseling at taxpayer expense. Now Hansen wants us all to forget it ever happened. The matter was briefed at a council meeting, but conducted in secret and expunged from the video record. City Hall went into “cover up mode.”

Public records indicate that the city is being advised by outside attorneys and its insurance carrier on “damage control” plans in preparation for a potential lawsuit from the victim.

A city needs a mayor who can behave and be trusted. Ethical standards have to be maintained. He should resign immediately and save citizens further embarrassment in the news media. Hansen should also pay any restitution and legal fees. starting with the $1,700 counseling costs, from his own pocket.

If Hansen does not quit, the other six men on the council have an obligation to either expel him or remove him from (mayoral) office and all committees. If they don’t, shame on them also.

Unacceptable unprofessional behavior demands serious consequences.

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. charliebucket says:

    That’s a lot of (damning) conclusions. Did you draw those conclusions based on the newspaper article or do you have (factual) inside knowledge of what happened?

    BTW, Anybody ever get the “facts” on what happened with the city manager that “resigned”? I had personal interactions with him a couple times, and there (he) was a lawsuit waiting to happen right there. I think Puyallup dropped him like a bad habit after realizing what a mistake he was.

  2. Valleychic says:

    Mr Churchman draws conclusions and makes statements for which he has no factual evidence. If he knew anything about the political process, all personnel discussions where an employee or in this case a council member is to be discussed are done in executive session for which all discussions and documents are confidential. Further more, if you ask any council member, they will confirm their is no video or audio recording of executive sessions so there in to basis for his statement that the records were “expunged” Mr Churchman hates Mayor Hansen for a variety of reasons and if council members do not respond according to his directives, he accuses them of all kinds of misdeeds. We are pretty sure that Mr Churchman was the “confidential informant” for KIRO news in their article stating Hansen’s actions were “criminal” in nature. What Hansen did was wrong, he has received corrective training so let’s see what happens in the future. Another offense, wham! Why execute Hansen and convict him in the media for this incident when you do not know the facts.

  3. First thing I thought of when I read that story was, he should resign. If this was a someone in the schools, heads would be rolling. Top person in the town….he should quit.

  4. charliebucket says:

    well all I read was the newspaper article and if that is what info the letter writer is going by, I don’t see how so many conclusions can be drawn just from the article…..the article made it sound pretty innocuous, like an anonymous generic ‘incident’, a ‘boundary’ issue. I pictured Mayor Hansen touching someone who did not want to be touched (like on the shoulder) or making an improper or unwelcome joke…..but perhaps others have more detailed info, that is why I asked…..

    FTR, I am all for proper consequences for sexual harassment or other things, but usually if there is a ‘boundary’ issue like an isolated improper joke or isolated “touching” incident people do not deserve to be fired, IMO. we all make mistakes.

  5. surething says:

    A warning, reprimand and see what happens. Next time, out on his #ss.

  6. vickistired says:

    This is what happens, IMO, when you have an all male council. Suddenly, “boundary” issues are minor…only mistakes. The woman in question should understand that and be forgiving, right? I mean, hey, sh**t happens – suck it up. Ultimately, he’s an elected official though – and they don’t get “fired” for this sort of thing. Perhaps not re-elected (one would hope) but unlike an actual employee, there’s no real recourse here (although I whole-heartedly agree that he should pay for the cost of the “training”).

    I have to ask though – what person, in this day and age, doesn’t understand that it’s inappropriate to touch a person in the office. I don’t care if it was on the shoulder…boundaries absolutely do exist in the professional world and you cannot for one moment tell me that he doesn’t know that. If he doesn’t? Then he definitely does not deserve to be re-elected. What an embarrassment for Puyallup. Kinda makes you wish you had the old mayor back, or at least one woman on the council to keep these “boys” in check, doesn’t it?

  7. charliebucket says:

    vicki I do not live in Puyallup but have had many encounters with the old city council over the last 17 years because of some work I was/am involved in, and I can say, unequivocally, NO, I cannot imagine any citizen of that city wanting the old council(s) back. yikes. Thank God they finally went to term limits, for starters. Rotation of leadership is essential for healthy governing.

  8. Valleychic says:

    For vikistired: If you read and followed all of the information that put out, the city manager, HR, and legal folks did the investigation and the person who filed the complaint suggested the corrective action that was taken. How on earth do you blame this on an all male council. If a woman touches a man in the similar manner, it is deemed okay by society even if the man was not comfortable with being touched. A man is told to suck it up and move on. A man touches a woman, they are crucified in the media and places like this. Bring back the Turner clan if you have another $100M you want to increase the city’s debt by.

  9. justpeopletalk says:

    You’re all a Bag-O-Nuts even speculating when you have no clue who touched who where. Get a life, get a hobby, go walk the dog and loose a few pounds.

  10. vickistired says:

    Valleychic: “If a woman touches a man in the similar manner, it is deemed okay by society even if the man was not comfortable with being touched.” No, it’s not ok. As a woman and a supervisor I would never, EVER touch any of my subordinates (or colleagues), male or female other than to shake hands where appropriate. Why? Because I have no way of knowing what one person is comfortable with versus another, and because it’s simply inappropriate in an office environment. Period. That’s the simplest, easiest solution. I don’t need training for that.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the mayor does. Wonder what else he needs “training” to understand?

    Oh, and as to my comment about an all male council – from experience – when I’ve been the only female amongst a group of males, I’ve noticed that what seems to pass for appropriate behavior and conversation is quite different from what passes in a mixed group. And, I’ve often had to suck it up, or risk being labeled for standing up for myself. When I look back at times when I was younger and less sure of myself in the worksplace, where I was made uncomfortable by an inappropriate joke, comment or a man feeling it was ok to put his hand on my back, or go in for a hug when I’d much prefer a handshake – I wish I would’ve stood up for myself. I applaud the woman in this case for having the internal fortitude to do so.

  11. surroundedbyidiots says:

    Lots of speculation going on here.

    Mr. Churchman jumped from “unwanted touch” to “grope!” That’s an olympic quality leap!

    Here’s what I can tell:
    This happened when other people were around. This is not he-said, she-said if it was in a group.

    Do you remember everyone’s shoulder you touch?

    So far, this is a one-time thing. For now, I’d follow @justpeopletalk’s advice to get a life. But then again, certain people really enjoy being angry all the time.

  12. ifIwereking says:

    Wow, this is really amazing reading these comments. I have daughters and grandaughters that I raised to never accept this type of behavior. Speculation!? http://www.kirotv.com/videos/online/mayor-of-puyallup-accused-of-sexually-harassing-a/vcgPJ/ Watch the KIRO video. It was witnessed, he accepted his punishment according to the city and the TNT and Valley Chic if you really are.. my goodness please don’t suggest to your daughters or mine that they should accept this behavior. This is despicable, he should resign, he is over 60 as are most of the councilmembers and if they don’t kow better by now they never will, and yes tired Vicky the women in the community should be ashamed that there is not a woman on the council. this is 2012 not 1960 where I think we all have gone back to for a few moments in time. It doesn’t feel good, it isn’t right and it should not happen again. This council should represent all the women in this community and vote for his resignation.

  13. justpeopletalk says:

    Hey all you Nuts! Since you have all passed judgement, please tell me where he touched the person. You need more fiber in your diet!

  14. PuyallupAdjunct says:

    justpeopletalk, not only that, but the complaint was made BY the 3rd party witness, not the person involved. We only have vague suggestive accounts and media hype with no actual information.

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