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Pierce County Councilman: Sue us if you think Hecht decision was illegal

Post by David Wickert on Nov. 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm with 14 Comments »
November 11, 2009 9:44 am

At least one Pierce County Council member isn’t worried that the prosecuting attorney’s office thinks the council’s decision to cut Superior Court Judge Michael Hecht’s position was illegal.

Chief civil deputy Doug Vanscoy has written an opinion that concludes the Legislature created Department 9 (Hecht’s seat), so only the Legislature can eliminate it.

Dick Muri
Dick Muri

County Councilman Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, told me this morning that Vanscoy’s opinion relies on technical arguments but not on common sense. He said the council’s budget authority gives it the power to eliminate the post.

“At some point, you either control the budget or you don’t control the budget,” Muri said.

As to Vanscoy’s opinion, Muri said: “Sue us and it will be decided in a court of law.”

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. GoingRogue says:

    RE: Sue us and it will be decided in a court of law.

    oh bother… and he probably said don’t patronize me

  2. denismenis says:

    So much for good governance.

  3. Papa98387 says:

    Hecht wasn’t seeing any cases as the local lawyers didn’t want to have him decide their cases (our lawyer was one of them).

    The “Pro tem” judges made up of experienced local lawers did a great job of keeping cases on track. Their decisions were wise and not politically motivated.

    I’m thinking that it is a good idea to use Pro tem judges as the workload increases and then slack off during less busy times. Saves taxpayer money and the results are just as good.

  4. jimkingjr says:

    Let’s spend even more scarce tax dollars on a court fight.

    Muri ought to realize that the Gov will probably just ignore the Pierce County Council, appoint someone to fill the vacancy, and the county will have to go ahead and pay the bills.

    But we get an unelected commissioner in place of an elected judge!

  5. dkv98446 says:

    As a life long Republican I can not begin to say how discussed I am with the arrogance of Dick Muri. In essence he says we are going to do what we want, if you don’t like it “sue us”.

  6. Drek2305 says:

    I love it – the corruption finally comes out in the open: we don’t care what the state says and you can’t make us do it.

    Terrible example to set.

  7. MasterAtArms says:

    Muri sounds like a good guy

  8. I disagree with the opinion of jimkingjr, where he says that the governatrix would jump into a lower level political squabble. Moreover, it is not clear that her actions in that scenario would be able to be enforced against an unwilling county.

    More likely is that she will shrewdly refuse to comment, opining that she is the governor of the state rather than a referee of food fights in the county mess hall.

    My view is that any lawsuit filed by either camp would be frivolous in that no claim for entitlement to relief could be stated. Vanscoy knows this, which is why his “legal opinion” is really just a political shot across the bow. He is hopelessly conflicted in that his boss is disputing the wisdom of the council.

    This is like siblings arguing who is in daddy’s will and how much each should get while daddy’s still alive and eavesdropping from the next room (and all the kids know he’s there).

    Lotsa posturin’ goin’ on here.

  9. sleelaw72 says:

    You can only use a protem judge if both parties agree. In most civil cases the defendants don’t agree and benefit from the delay. Also, the current judges are now being saddled with cases previously handled by Hecht. The council made the court congestion problem much worse with the elimination. If you need to get civil relief as a plaintiff, the council made it much more difficult to do so with their decision. From a justice standpoint, it was a very poor decision — Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.

  10. Muri, as always, is scum.

  11. bigmeatgrinder says:

    From one side to the other, this whole damn county has turned into a den of inequity! Waaay to many long time politico’s playing C.Y.A! Can’t we DUMP them all and start over? I know….dream on BMG…..that’s called a Revolution.

  12. S_Emerson says:

    Well, we did just have a mini revolution with the HUGE failure of Charter Amendment 1, so this coming election will replace Bunney, Lee and Gelman. The ilk’s back-up players are strategizing their campaigns now. Hopefully we won’t end up with more of the same.

  13. S_Emerson says:

    Great. Since the Executive vetoed the comp plan amendments package due to two illegal pieces within it (one regarding the Rural Separator), the Council, just days after they allegedly illegally “dissolved” Judge Hecht’s position to save $19,000, just passed an no-notice budget amendment to redirect thousands of dollars from other departments to do a study on the Rural Separator so they can try to figure out how to destroy it with unwanted/un-needed development.

    Executive McCarthy, if you’re readng this, VETO THIS AMENDMENT PLEASE.

    See the amendment here.

    P.S. I heard that CM Farrell was the only one who wouldn’t “sign off” on it.

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