Future judgement of Langley’s rights and wrongs is in the hands of seven people.
Mayor Fred McCarthy announced the appointment of the city’s ethics committee during a March city council meeting. After several months of discussion, the committee may now put Langley on the right, as in correct, foot.
“I am grateful to the people who have volunteered to serve,” said Councilman Hal Seligson, who initially proposed and pursued an ethics committee for city staff.
Seligson ran Langley for almost two months as mayor pro tem. He assumed the role of mayor while the Langley City Council searched for an interim replacement following the January resignation of Larry Kwarsick. The former mayor stepped down because he entered a plea agreement for falsifying a public document while in office. The issue came into the public eye when the Island County Prosecutor’s Office began investigating the matter in 2012.
Recent history of the city government also held controversial dealings. Former mayor Paul Samuelson found himself embattled over his $53,500 salary and benefits, plus an attempt to force out the city hall whistle blower.
Those days, city leaders hope, are in the past. But creating guidelines for behavior by city staff and council members will help avoid those issues.
McCarthy and Seligson interviewed eight candidates and selected seven members to the ethics committee. Members have pastoral, business, government and education experience. Robin Adams, one of the two members present at the city council meeting, has experience on the Waldorf School board of directors and in mining operations finance. The other present ethics committee member was Ron Roesler, who was in corporate leadership with Chrysler and worked on business ethics. The other members are Mary Boyd, pastor at Langley United Methodist Church; Christina Dahlstroem, a biomedical professional in pharmaceutic production ethics; Ann Medlock, a founder of the Giraffe Heroes Project; Dan Prewitt, who worked with Red Cross; and Ursula Scurlock, who does college training in ethical leadership.
“They exemplify the best qualities that came out of all the other people,” McCarthy said.
Now established, the ethics committee’s first order of business is to set its scope and elect a chairperson. Councilman Jim Sundberg said he wanted the committee to narrow its goals to avoid being, “an endless task.”
The committee has about five months before it will make its first proposal to city council.