Everett Port official’s residency in doubt

EVERETT — Snohomish County civil attorneys have been asked to investigate whether Everett Port Commissioner Michael Hoffmann can stay in office after questions surfaced about where he’s living.

If attorneys determine he no longer complies with state rules for holding office, the port will move to appoint somebody to fill out his term, which expires at the end of this year.

“We worked really hard to resolve this without moving into this process,” port spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said Wednesday. “It’s really to get to the bottom of his residency.”

Hoffmann, 48, was elected to the port’s District 3 in 2007.

State law says “only a registered voter who resides in a commissioner district may be a candidate for, or hold office as, a commissioner of the commissioner district.”

Hoffmann was evicted from his south Everett home in June following a bank foreclosure. During a related court proceeding on July 1, Snohomish County deputies arrested Hoffmann for investigation of obstruction. No charges have been filed. A decision on the case is pending.

After Hoffmann was released from jail the following day, he informed port executive director John Mohr about his change in living arrangements.

He believes the eviction was unlawful, and hopes to return to the house.

“The American people aren’t necessarily in a position to understand the mechanisms that work against them,” Hoffmann said when reached by phone Wednesday. “It’s the electeds’ fiduciary responsibility to take care of that for them.”

He declined to say exactly where he’s staying now, but said it’s in the area.

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, all three port commissioners — Hoffmann included — passed a resolution asking county prosecutors to get involved in resolving the residency question.

“This resolution provides a mechanism to review the differing legal opinions between Port legal counsel and Commissioner Hoffmann regarding the residency requirement to serve in public office,” Port attorney Brad Cattle said.

Jason Cummings, the county’s chief civil deputy prosecutor, confirmed that his office had received the request. Cummings was unsure of how long it would take to reach a decision.

Hoffmann is not seeking re-election in November. Glen Bachman is running for the seat unopposed. The term runs for six years.

Hoffmann won the nonpartisan job in 2007, when he beat incumbent Don Hopkins with 61.2 percent of the vote.

Hoffmann, who grew up in Edmonds, has owned his own construction company for 20 years, according to his biography on the port website. He lists good environmental stewardship and good economics among his priorities.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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