Lynnwood City Council members, from left: Jim Smith, Shirley Sutton, Shannon Sessions, Josh Binda, George Hurst, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and Patrick Decker. (City of Lynnwood)

Lynnwood City Council members, from left: Jim Smith, Shirley Sutton, Shannon Sessions, Josh Binda, George Hurst, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and Patrick Decker. (City of Lynnwood)

Councilman Binda accused by colleagues of misusing public resources

Lynnwood Council alleges Binda used a video made in City Hall to promote himself, speeches from which he’s netted nearly $15K

LYNNWOOD — Lynnwood City Council members have filed a complaint against Council Member Josh Binda with the city’s Board of Ethics, following Binda’s use of the council chambers to record a promotional video for a speaking tour from which he earned thousands.

The complaint claims “Binda violated Lynnwood Municipal Code and Lynnwood City Council Code of Ethics regarding use of his public office and public resources for personal gain or benefit” and outlines several potential infractions. Council member Patrick Decker filed the complaint on behalf of the council last week.

Binda declined to comment on the allegations.

On Jan. 23, the City Council learned that Binda earned thousands of dollars for a series of speeches he gave at local schools. At the time, council members were already concerned about his use of the council chambers in December to record a promotional video for that speaking tour. The revelation he benefited financially spurred them to act. Six of the seven council members voted to file a formal complaint. Binda abstained.

The complaint alleges Binda used his Lynnwood City Council email address and city email servers to arrange his speeches and negotiate contracts “for which (he) was paid but which were not part of his Council duties.”

It also asserts that Binda entered City Hall after hours and “moved flags and Council dais items to frame a scene in Chambers with Binda sitting at the center focus of the staging” to record a promotional video for his tour.

As of Feb. 10, he’s earned $14,250 for speaking at eight school assemblies.

After recording the video, the complaint accuses Binda of failing to set the alarms at City Hall, creating a security concern. It also accuses him of providing “his employee access badge to other parties” that are not city staff, a violation of city rules. The complaint claims that “on more than one occasion, Lynnwood Police responded to an alarm at City Hall and found that Josh Binda had set off the alarm by entering the building without turning the alarm off.”

It also asserts that in 2022, Binda met with the Lynnwood city attorney who advised the first-term council member against using public resources for his own benefit. This happened after Binda had been advised “multiple times” by the mayor and council members that his use of City Hall for personal matters was not permitted, according to the complaint.

Finally, the complaint questions Binda’s timeline for recording the promotional video and signing speaking contracts, stating that if Binda signed any contracts after he filmed the video in December, then he “lied to the Council and lied to the public about the timing of events in order to attempt to make the case that the creation and posting of the video is not tied to the compensation he has and will receive for the speaking engagements.”

According to contracts obtained by the Herald, Binda signed the Edmonds School District contract on Jan. 17 and the Northshore School District contract on Jan. 10.

In accordance with city rules, the complaint will be reviewed by an attorney, not associated with the city, who will determine if the allegations are founded or not.

The attorney will investigate the claims and interview Binda, Decker on behalf of the council and other involved parties. The process could take several months. If the attorney concludes the allegations are founded, the complaint will be passed to the ethics board for possible actions.

The ethics board is comprised of citizens appointed by the city council. Its purpose is “to hear complaints and determine if violations of the ethics code” have occurred by city officials and “to enter appropriate administrative orders and make recommendations to the city council,” according to Board of Ethics.

If the board determines violations occurred then the City Council can impose remedies ranging from reprimand to removal.

Whether Binda’s decision to get paid for speaking at local schools violates any city rules is unclear, the fact he accepted compensation stands out. Typically elected officials neither seek or accept compensation.

Like Binda, state Rep. April Berg, D-Mill Creek, gave a speech at Jackson High School last month for its assembly marking Martin Luther King Jr. day. The Black Student Union invited her to speak.

“I did not and absolutely would not accept a fee for that,” Berg said.

She said she “can’t fathom” accepting financial compensation for speaking at schools.

Kayla J. Dunn: 425-339-3449;; Twitter: @KaylaJ_Dunn.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

The M/V Puyallup docks at the Edmonds waterfront on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 in Edmonds. The ferry along with the passenger loading walkway were struck by lightning last week. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Tune in for virtual meeting on Edmonds-Kingston ferry

The series of Washington State Ferries meetings are for updates and public comment. A recording is available online.

Most Read