Jack Broyles Jr. (left), Mike Pivec (right)

Jack Broyles Jr. (left), Mike Pivec (right)

Auditor dismisses claim Alderwood water board member lives in Alaska

Since March, a challenger in the embattled water district, Mike Pivec, has alleged incumbent Jack Broyles doesn’t live in Bothell.

LYNNWOOD — For over six months, a candidate running for the Alderwood water district board has been digging for evidence that the incumbent secretly lives full-time in Alaska.

But the Snohomish County auditor has dismissed the assertion that Jack Broyles Jr. should be disqualified from office. A report from the auditor released in September acknowledged Broyles has a full-time job as the finance director at Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility.

“While this evidence shows that Broyles travels and spends time in Alaska for work, it does not demonstrate that it is highly probable that Broyles resides somewhere other than (Bothell),” according to the report.

Still, challenger Mike Pivec isn’t convinced of Broyles’ local residency.

“I don’t think he can keep this charade forever,” Pivec said last week. “Some of my supporters have called up there and put in public records requests that pinpoint him (in Alaska) since March 2023.”

Candidates for office in Washington must be registered to vote in the district where they run.

The Alderwood Water and Wastewater District, based in Lynnwood, is the state’s largest special purpose water and sewer district, serving 200,000 people across 44 square miles.

Pivec and Broyles are competing for board Position 3. The district has weathered an outsized share of controversies in recent years, including a vote of no-confidence in former General Manager Dick McKinley, who employees accused of fostering a “toxic” and “hostile” workplace. McKinley had been hired by the board in August 2020. The board put him on administrative leave in late 2022, and he retired a month later.

This year in the primary, Broyles took 64.7% of the vote. Pivec, a former district employee, made it to the general election with 21.7%, while Alan Rubio was eliminated with 13.4%.

Broyles has served one term as an Alderwood commissioner. He maintains he still resides at least half the time in Bothell with his fiancee.

“It’s not a mystery,” Broyles told The Daily Herald in July, speaking about his job in Alaska.“The board knows, the district knows, the general counsel knows. If the voters have a problem with it, well, then don’t vote for me.”

When Broyles spoke to a Herald reporter, his call came from a phone number with a 425 area code.

In August, Pivec filed a voter registration challenge, alleging Broyles does not reside at his listed Bothell address. Pivec claims Broyles’ remote participation in Alderwood board meetings and employment a three-hour flight away “strongly points to (Broyles) not living 50% of the time” in the Snohomish County voting boundaries.

“It is apparent to myself and many other Snohomish County registered voters that he is deceiving the public in claiming that he lives the majority of the time in Bothell,” Pivec said in an email. “Commissioner Broyles should have resigned from his elected position in March 2023 when he was no longer living in this voting district the majority of the time.”

Pivec believed his opponent needed to spend “the majority” of his time in Snohomish County based on a statement from the auditor’s office.

But on Tuesday, county Elections Manager Matthew Pangburn told The Daily Herald the office had mistakenly provided false information to Pivec. Pangburn clarified there is no state law requiring a registered voter or elected official to spend a majority of the time in their district.

In an interview last week, Broyles called Pivec’s allegations “pretty pathetic.”

The Alderwood Water & Wastewater District building in Lynnwood, Washington. (Photo provided by Alderwood Water & Wastewater District)

Pivec worked for 12 years as an administrative services manager for the district, a position he described as a “catch-all” for a variety of issues — human resources, IT, safety training and legal issues. He resigned from his job in 2019.

Since May, Pivec has attended almost a dozen of the weekly Alderwood water district meetings, he said. Broyles primarily attends via Zoom, according to Pivec.

Pivec requested Broyles’ attendance records from both the Anchorage and Alderwood water districts, emails show. An Anchorage employee responded to Pivec’s request hours later, saying the utility did not take Broyles’ attendance daily. The employee noted Broyles worked full-time in the Alaska office.

Pivec then requested all records “related to Commissioner Broyles’ lack of physical attendance” at Alderwood meetings. Pivec, however, later withdrew this request.

“It’s very evident that he’s being protected up there as well,” Pivec said. “It’s not going to look good on Anchorage Water for this guy who’s doing something unethical.”

Meanwhile, Broyles provided 17 documents to the county auditor connecting him and his fiancee to a Bothell home, including energy bills and documents from the state Department of Licensing, according to county documents.

Broyles testified he did not intend to become a full-time resident of Alaska, according to the auditor’s office report.

In an email back to the auditor, Pivec called the findings “disappointing at the very least.”

In Broyles’ view, if Pivec’s challenge had succeeded, it would have set a poor precedent for other candidates who travel for work.

“Mr. Pivec is having me disenfranchised,” Broyles said. “It’s really sad to have someone disenfranchised.”

In the other Alderwood board race, for Position 4, incumbent Larry Dean Jones led the primary with 47.5% of the vote and Pat Peck finished second with 37.9%.

Jones has a Bothell address. Peck lives just north of Lynnwood.

Ballots go out Oct. 19 in Snohomish County. Election Day is Nov. 7.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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