Sumner City Councilman Randy Hynek announced at a televised council meeting that he plans to challenge incumbent Mayor Dave Enslow in the November election.
The announcement, which Hynek shared at the April 1 council session broadcast on Pierce County TV, was in violation of Sumner City Council rules and Public Disclosure Commission regulations.
Hynek, following a confrontation with the city clerk regarding a missing agenda item, announced his bid to run for the post.
“I’ve decided that there needs to be changes and I can’t wait to make them, I’m running for mayor,” Hynek said. “I’m done.”
Washington state election laws prohibit use of public resources to support or oppose candidates or ballot measures. At the meeting, City Attorney Brett Vinson immediately cited such regulations, and told Hynek that his comments were inappropriate.
“If you want to stand out on the sidewalk and announce ‘I’m running for mayor’ that’s OK,” Vinson said at the meeting. “But during a regular council meeting you are absolutely prohibited from making such a comment.”
Mayor Enslow confirmed Thursday that he plans to run for re-election, and was perplexed by Hynek’s reference to making changes.
“I’m, sure there are things we can do better in Sumner,” Enslow said, “but I think Sumner is doing pretty darn good.”
Communications Director Carmen Palmer said in an email Friday that the action also violates City Council regulations that were last adopted in August 2011, in which Hynek was the only no vote.
Hynek said in an interview Friday he was unaware that his actions were in violation of PDC and council regulations.
The council’s rules state “No person may use public comment for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition. Further, any direct mention of a person’s candidacy or a ballot proposition shall constitute grounds for immediate suspension of such person’s right to speak at that Council meeting.”
Vinson was unavailable for comment Friday regarding any potential action taken as a result of Hynek’s announcement. Hynek said he is unaware of any disciplinary action against him regarding his comments.
Hynek said that there is a difference between announcing details and announcing that a candidate is running, and he feels limiting his announcement at the meeting is unconstitutional.
“As far as council rules, I am the only one who comes close to following them,” Hynek said.
Hynek decline to confirm if he would file to run in the election, but made clear that he doesn’t want to run if he doesn’t have to.
“I don’t want to run for mayor. Only reason I did it is cause I’m not going to let him walk into office unopposed,” he said. “If a competent candidate steps forward I will gladly step down.”
Filing week for Pierce County elections is May 13-17.
Kari Plog: 253-597-8682