SNOHOMISH — An effort to recall Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak has been withdrawn.
The person filing the recall petition, Bill Betten, a Snohomish truck driver, said he took the action “due to harassment my family has endured.”
“The best thing for me is no comment at this time,” Betten said. The harassment is still ongoing, he added.
Guzak said she adamantly denies any involvement and does not condone harassment of any citizen “whether we agree or disagree on any issue.”
If Betten feels harassed, “he should take whatever action is available to address the conduct he perceives as harassment,” she said.
Guzak said in some ways she’s relieved that the recall effort is over. “It saves time and money based on something that I think has no merit,” she said.
However, Guzak said she would have liked to have heard Betten describe under oath in court the conduct he thought she engaged in that would have met the legal requirements to have her removed from office.
Guzak has served as mayor for seven years. The recall petition was filed with the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office. It alleged that Guzak committed malfeasance, misfeasance and violated her oath of office.
Among other issues, it claimed that Guzak violated her oath of office by requiring people to sign in and provide their name and addresses to participate in city council meetings. Betten contended that violates the state’s open public meetings law.
The petition also said that Guzak failed to create an open government committee as required by the city’s municipal code, using $10,000 of tax money on a “null and void” committee.
The Snohomish City Council agreed to pay fees for an attorney to represent her in the recall effort, Guzak said.
“We’ve had a close look at the allegations,” Guzak said. “As far as I’m concerned and my attorney is concerned, they have no merit.”
In keeping with state law, Snohomish County deputy prosecutors opened a civil case on the recall petition. A recall can’t proceed without a superior court hearing to determine the sufficiency of the recall charge and the adequacy of the synopsis that would appear on a ballot.
Betten also has been involved in an effort to change the city’s council-manager government, in which the city manager takes charge of the day-to-day running of the city. The proposed change would eliminate the city manager’s position and an elected mayor would run the city.
The Snohomish City Council was scheduled to consider putting the issue on the November ballot during its meeting Tuesday evening.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org