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Tacoma: Ethics board to continue “fact-finding” in complaints against Strickland, Anderson

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on April 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm with 28 Comments »
April 1, 2011 2:20 pm

Tacoma’s citizen Board of Ethics announced late Thursday it will push ahead with its fact-finding into Mayor Marilyn Strickland’s recent trip to Asia by issuing formal questions to the mayor and an area businessman who covered her airfare expenses.

“The board has deliberated and our next stop in our formal fact-finding process is we will be … directing the staff to acquire certain documents and records, along with a set of interrogatories to Mayor Strickland and Mr. (Ron) Chow,” board chairman Sean Armentrout said. “And we will reconvene at a later date to review those items.”


The board’s review was triggered by two citizens’ complaints based on a News Tribune story last month about Strickland’s trip.

The board also decided Thursday to seek more information about a complaint made by local gadfly John Hathaway against City Manager Eric Anderson that raises conflict-of-interest concerns. The complaint cites Anderson’s ties to a nonprofit retirement corporation and a city committee’s recent decision to contract with the same firm to handle an employee pension plan.

The Deferred Compensation Committee seeks to award a single-vendor contract with the International City/County Management Association Retirement Corporation to handle the city workers’ pension plan. Anderson has voluntarily served on the ICMA-RC’s directors’ board since 2004.

“The board has determined that further information is necessary to reach a resolution on this matter,” Armentrout said.

“…The board will be seeking that information in the form of written interrogatories to members of the Deferred Compensation Committee that report to the city manager and to City manager Anderson himself.”

Also Thursday, the ethics panel dismissed two other complaints against Anderson related to the city’s bidding process for a contract to remodel Cheney Stadium, and a separate complaint against Strickland related to a citizen’s request about her goddaughter’s health. The board found no evidence of code violations or improper conduct in those cases, Armentrout said.

Strickland has said she will withhold comment about the board’s review of her Asian trip until the matter is resolved.

She previously told The News Tribune she used the frequent flier miles of Chow, a Lakewood businessman with international business contacts, to cover her airfare for a 10-day business trip to South Korea and China to avoid sticking the city with the bill. Strickland has since told The News Tribune she will reimburse Chow.

Chow, meanwhile, recently told the newspaper that he does not believe his actions violated any ethics rules or are considered a prohibited gift under the city’s ethics code.

Anderson also recently told The News Tribune the city’s Deferred Compensation Committee acted independently and without his knowledge when determining its preferred choice of vendor to handle the employee pension plan. Anderson said once he learned of the committee’s action, he took steps to ensure he was further “insulated” from any involvement in that process.

The ethics board is next scheduled to hold a special meeting to discuss both cases on April 27.

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. GHTaxPayer says:

    Throw the corrupt bums out !

  2. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Corruption in office plus taxpayer subsidized purchase of a condo in Strickland’s case.

  3. dustdevil11 says:

    Save the city’s taxpayers a bunch of money. No one will be disciplined or sanctioned. A warning and policy revision will be formulated. This conclusion cost nothing which is the worth of what will result by a fictitious investigation.

  4. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Make her go out and do community service. Like fix some pot holes and paint over tagging graffiti.

  5. TacomaBorn says:

    Good! keep asking the tough questions and keep these people in LINE! Our tax dollars pay their wages!!

  6. PumainTacoma says:

    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),
    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),
    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),
    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),

  7. Jurisprudencelaw says:

    You highly paid copy boys just don’t get it do you? Rather than calling Hathaway a local gadfly for all he has done for this city in the past 16 years and for all the tips he has given to you it should be the News Tribune who nominates him for a life time achievement City of Destiny Award.

    Get over your petty egos and give credit for credit due for a change.

    Instead of trying to take him down for doing your work why don’t you put out an olive branch to the local hero as I’m sure he has never had a problem working with you.

    Please respond.

    Thank you,

  8. tree_guy says:

    Agree with juris. Gadfly has a sort of negative connotation. John Hatheway would be better described as a government watchdog .

  9. princessnancy says:

    Tree_guy and Juris are right on! John Hathaway isn’t a gadfly…how insulting to him. He IS a government watchdog. Who knows what else the City would try to keep from the taxpaying citizens if John wasn’t around to keep us posted on their possibly illegal add unethical doings.. Keep up the good work John; I look forward to every email that you send! Thank you.

  10. princessnancy says:

    Please excuse the typo on the third line form the bottom of my post. It should read “possibly illegal AND unethical doings…”

  11. Jurisprudencelaw says:

    Hello Treeguy and Princecessnancy,

    Thank you for your comments about John “The Green Gadfly” Hathaway.

    What do think about starting a Green Gadfly Facebook page?

    Is it doable with out his knowledge. Every time the Tribune tries to cut him down his popularity just grows.

    By the time they keep posting him on their petard when he leaves this earth their obit on him will read “Local gadfly passes” and everyone will know they are talking about native son John.

    Respond to this Clueless Lamb!

  12. princessnancy says:

    Juris — that is a great idea! John is very well known, his emails go out to hundreds of citizens. Yes, yes, yes!

  13. nwcolorist says:

    Tacoma has an ethics board? This is worth checking out.

  14. nwcolorist says:

    And the Trib’s labeling John Hathaway as a “gadfly” says as much about the TNT as it does about Hathaway.

  15. Jurisprudencelaw says:


    Clarify your comment please. So who are you slamming? The Tribune, Hathaway or both?

    Thank you

  16. gerry0416 says:

    It’s amazing how different the tone of this article is in comparison to the hatchet job that the Trib is doing on Dale Washam. I guess that is because the editorial board agrees with the liberal policies of these two corrupt fools (Strickland and Anderson) and despises the more conservative policies of Washam.

  17. DeschutesMan says:

    Another Job opening for those who want it… Great perks… Free Fly miles to anywhere in the World…All disbursements under the table please

  18. Ankleface says:

    I too was shocked at the term “gadfly.” That sounds blatantly offensive and insulting. I don’t know any details about this story, but the editorial slant and bias isn’t even trying to hide! Pretty shabby journalism and poor writing, TNT.

  19. FaceReality says:

    i agree that john hathaway should NOT be described as a gadfly. that’s an insult to all gadflies everywhere.

    i mean, come on people? john hathaway a “government watchdog”? john hathaway a candidate for citizen of the year? Really? taht’s ridiculous. at best, he’s like a monkey who throws poop against the wall. calling him a gadfly is being generous.

  20. @FaceR: That’s not nice.

    Hathaway recently revealed that the McChain newspaper call center is in the Philippines. He broke the Brame, Phelps, Flannigan, Ebersole, and Campbell scandals. He serves the public for free.

  21. My opinion is That if any wrong doing is discovered,the wrong doing will be swept so far under the rug,you could never,no matter how deep you dug or how hard you tried, you would never find the truth about what really happened.

  22. Jurisprudencelaw says:

    Dear FaceReality,

    It is obvious from your CS, not responding with your real name, post you either work for Tacoma City Manager, TPD or Ryan Pretty of Econ Dev. Then again you may work for the Tribune.

    My point is without an identity, ie: your name, your comment falls on deaf ears.

    When you come out of the closet the hoards may listen. But with the venom you just spewed good effing luck Mr. Whats your name!

    You tell me yours I’ll tell you mine!

    Want a hint?

    Ann Lynn

  23. whiterabbit says:


    i am not sure what the scandals are that you are referring to, but i think its disengenuous to try to give credit to john hathaway for revealing that the mcclatchy newspaper corporation outsources it’s call center to the Phillipines. That information has been all over the web for at least 3 years as the articles below attest. also if you ever had your newspaper delivered late or not show up anytime during the past few years and you called the tribune to complain about it, you would have known it. so i would not say that this particular ‘revelation’ is any kind of ringing endorsement for hathway.


  24. FaceRealty says:

    Juris — obviously my post did not “fall on deaf ears,” like you say, because you responded to it. yes i’m sure you and every other yocal in this comment forum would love to know my real name (I’ll give you a hint: it begins with B, ends with B and has an O in the middle of it) . but you know what? everybody in this forum, including you and the half dozen different aliases that Hathaway posts under to pat himself on the back with, are all ANONYMOUS. so why should I? if the rules say i’m allowed to give my opinions anonymously, than so be it. i don’t groan and moan that i need to know your name when you anonymously praise hathaway as some great man of substance who is deserving of an award. no, i allow you to say it under your online handle just as you’d like. but, because this is america, i’m allowed to disagree. i think john hathaway is more like a sad monkey that throws poop at the wall. that’s just my opinion. if you don’t like it, tough. because them are the rules.

    love and kisses,

  25. Alison7613 says:

    Stop calling John a gadfly when he breaks more news daily than you do in a month.

  26. Alison7613 says:

    And how did Marty Campbell get out of their investigation so easily? He is not exactly ethical.

  27. @ WhiteR

    Thanks for the links (2 worked). As they only mention the Florida and So. Carolina newpapers, this is news to most people here. If you are following McChain newpapers so closely, you could be aiding local citizens by publishing this information.

    As to scandals, surely you’ve at least heard of David Brame?

  28. @ FaceR:

    As I said before, your comments on Hathaway are not nice. Why the focus on his excrement? It’s not healthy.

    Let’s get out of sewer. Thanks.

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