A Sumner city councilman suspected of illegally cutting down about 60 trees on city property accused the city’s mayor Monday night of trying to keep him from sharing his side of the story.
Councilman Randy Hynek also told his fellow council members during the regular council meeting that if they want the truth about the tree-cutting matter, it’s up to them to find a way to hear it.
“It’s going to rest on your shoulders,” he said.
Hynek spoke toward the end of the meeting, during a time reserved for reports from council members. His remarks touched off a brief but tense exchange in which another councilman – Mike LeMaster – called for a point of order and Mayor Dave Enslow asked Hynek to stop attacking him and then ruled Hynek out of order.
After the meeting, Enslow said the city isn’t out to get Hynek, but that a city council session isn’t the place to air the case.
Hynek has said he did nothing wrong and that the city’s investigation into the downed trees was one-sided.
Sumner police started investigating in December after the trees were discovered. Hynek, 52, who’s in the middle of his second term on the council, emerged as a possible suspect.
The city forwarded its investigation to Pierce County prosecutors, who are conducting a review and could make a decision about whether to file charges this week.
Hynek admitted to police that he cut down some trees to protect some younger walnut trees growing nearby, according to the city police report. Hynek had arranged for the nut trees to be planted a few years ago and has been tending to them.
Hynek told The News Tribune last week that the city’s report contained inaccuracies. He wouldn’t comment on whether he cut down the trees because the case is still open.
Hynek said he wanted an independent investigation and hoped to get enough council support Monday for that to happen.
At the start of Monday’s meeting, an attorney for the city’s insurance pool advised the council not to get involved right now, saying members should let the “normal process play out.”
The council ultimately didn’t take any action related to the case Monday night.