“It is essential to the proper administration and operation of the City of Camas that the City Council be and give the appearance of being independent and impartial; that elective office with the City of Camas not be used for personal benefit; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of the city.”
That’s the opening statement in the Code of Ethics and Conduct for Elected Officials for the City of Camas. It’s clear to us here at Fix Camas, but it appears that a few of our elected officials need to go back and re-read this document. Maybe twice. Okay, let's be realistic, maybe reading it three times is needed.
As the story outing City of Camas officials for colluding with a local resident hit the River Talk Weekly newspaper, hell began to break loose on the NextDoor platform where residents went to share the story and exchange views about what was happening with their neighbors.
As soon as it hit, however, reports started to fly with requests for the story, and neighborhood comments, to be taken down. One of the reporters, and voters to remove the posts, was none other than recently retired City of Camas council member Greg Anderson, whose name appears on several email exchanges (obtained lawfully via the Freedom of Information Act) showing collusion between City officials and a Camas resident to silence opposing voices on the platform during the great Crown Park Pool debate of 2019 and again as a new Mayor, and a pandemic, set in 2020.
Hey Greg, we get it, you do not like being called out - but you need to accept responsibility for your actions and let the Camas community have its say. You shouldn't be silencing voices just because you don't agree with them. You may not like it, but your actions have earned it. Own it!
But that is just the beginning. There may be even bigger violations of this code of ethics policy from others who serve our city. We should all be asking why Ellen Burton, former Mayor Pro-Tem who currently heads our Parks & Rec Community, is opposed to citizen feedback and input on decisions she’s empowered to make that directly impact Camas residents – such as her directive to spend $6 million + on a splash pad in Crown Park when residents have been very clear - time and again - that they just want their pool back. Burton’s response: No public comment allowed in her commission meetings. She’s also referred to citizen input as “interfering with ‘our’ work” in the emails that have surfaced. So much for earning the confidence of the community you serve, Ellen.
We should also ask current Councilmember Marilyn Boerke why she was seen removing her earbuds, and shaking her head in a "no" motion, during the public comment period of this week’s City Council meeting. Oh Marilyn, we get that you do not like citizen feedback, but that was not a good look – and it certainly does not elevate confidence in the integrity of our city.
We could go on (the more we dig, the more gobsmacked we become), but we will save that for additional posts as the current state of the city continues to unfold and our elected officials reveal, to the citizens watching them, who they really are and what they are up to.
We’ll report it as we see it, but for now – enjoy this nugget of truth and documentation from River Talk Weekly. We suggest reading it with the Code of Ethics Policy in mind.