Past catches Sultan official


Herald Writer

SULTAN — The city is embroiled in another round of political battles after the council recently found out its newest city administrator has a troubled past — and the mayor knew about it before the hiring.

After eight months on the job, city administrator Roy Bysegger’s work history has come to light: He was fired by two cities and in another was charged with five felonies for alleged misuse of a city credit card after buying tickets to an Oak Ridge Boys concert and a Cal-USC football game.

Mayor C. H. Rowe knew Bysegger was fired from city jobs in DuPont and in Crescent City, Calif. And in Susanville, Calif., he was charged with, but never convicted of, alleged misuse of credit cards. He resigned, but ended up staying six months before a replacement was hired.

Rowe said the criminal charges were in the background report, and it was available to any council member who asked for it.

"We knew about all that," Rowe said. "I made calls to both places and spoke to the people he worked with about those things, and I felt comfortable that I wanted to hire him. He came highly recommended."

Bysegger was confirmed by the council after a background check by Sultan police.

Council members say they like the work Bysegger has done, but some say they weren’t told the full story before his hiring.

"We had been told that his previous firings were politically motivated," councilman Mark Raney said. "We should have been told about this (the felony charges) from early on, and we weren’t. It’s the sort of thing that fires up folks who are so angry that they’ve almost ground the city to a halt with lawsuits and document requests."

"Thanks to some bad decisions by the mayor, a lot of folks will now unjustly judge a man and a community," Raney said.

But Raney said Bysegger "has made a positive impact on the city as a whole."

Councilman Perry McPherson agreed.

"So far Roy’s done a good job," McPherson said. "But as a council person I didn’t know his history. If someone else knew about all this, they should have been up front with us. If the mayor knew, he should have told us so we weren’t blindsided."

Despite the problems, a majority on the council said they are happy with Bysegger and have no plans to ask the mayor to remove him.

Bysegger said he doesn’t know why his past is surfacing now, other than some people may not like his work. But he said that comes with the job.

"My suspicions are that this is coming up now because there are certain people in this city who aren’t happy with the direction things are going."

In the past year, Sultan government has been a hotbed of controversy. Former city administrator Bill Trippett resigned, then sued the city over what’s been called a sexually charged workplace. A potential replacement, Brian Olsen, didn’t get the job because he had been fired twice and had an assault conviction in his past.

Also, there have been heated debates about annexation and growth. There was missing money tied to a city official, a pricey council retreat that was rejected, a resignation and an audit.

Most recently, Bysegger was involved in a discussion about disbanding the city police department in favor of using Snohomish County sheriff’s personnel.

And now, Bysegger’s work history.

According to newspaper accounts and court documents, Bysegger was fired in Crescent City, where he was city manager from 1984-87. Some accounts say he was fired because he was ineffective in a fire investigation.

Three volunteer firefighters pleaded guilty to setting that fire. A dock was supposedly torched after the city wasn’t able to get the needed permit to tear the dock down and replace it with a $1.6 million sports-fishing pier and tourist attraction.

"I had no part in the fire," Bysegger said, adding he just directed the police chief to do the investigation, and the information was turned over to the prosecuting attorney. "What was really underneath all that was that the council was divided on the issue of redevelopment in Crescent City."

He said he was leading the redevelopment with city staff while a majority of the council favored consultants doing the work.

In 1990, Bysegger went to work as city administrator in Susanville. He was being charged with five felony counts of theft for personal use of a city credit card. The charges were dropped when he agreed to resign.

"I’ve never been convicted of any crime," Bysegger, 61, said, adding he won’t use a city credit card in Sultan.

Bysegger said Susanville didn’t have a policy on credit card use, and it was common for him, council members and department heads to use the cards for personal items and then pay for them later.

Records show that Bysegger paid his personal purchases prior to the bill arriving at city hall.

In one case, his daughter had been along on a business trip and her dinner was charged to the city because the restaurant wouldn’t separate it out from the check, he said. He repaid that amount.

In other cases, he paid for motel rooms and tickets to an Oak Ridge Boys concert and a Cal-USC football game, all of which were repaid before the purchases became public.

Nonetheless, Bysegger said he resigned "because they needed a scapegoat."

He then worked as city administrator in DuPont until he was hired in Sultan last February. He left DuPont when he was terminated by a new mayor who wanted to hire her own administrator.

Despite all the turmoil, Bysegger said he plans to continue his work in Sultan.

"What seems obvious to me is that this is a political situation, and that’s always to be expected when you are a city manager or city administrator. We do the best we can in public life to serve the public.

"Controversy is always going to come up."

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

The oldest known meteor shower, Lyrid, will be falling across the skies in mid- to late April 2024. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Clouds to dampen Lyrid meteor shower views in Western Washington

Forecasters expect a storm will obstruct peak viewing Sunday. Locals’ best chance at viewing could be on the coast. Or east.

Everett police officers on the scene of a single-vehicle collision on Evergreen Way and Olivia Park Road Wednesday, July 5, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Photo provided by Everett Police Department)
Everett man gets 3 years for driving high on fentanyl, killing passenger

In July, Hunter Gidney crashed into a traffic pole on Evergreen Way. A passenger, Drew Hallam, died at the scene.

FILE - Then-Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., speaks on Nov. 6, 2018, at a Republican party election night gathering in Issaquah, Wash. Reichert filed campaign paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission on Friday, June 30, 2023, to run as a Republican candidate. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
6 storylines to watch with Washington GOP convention this weekend

Purist or pragmatist? That may be the biggest question as Republicans decide who to endorse in the upcoming elections.

Keyshawn Whitehorse moves with the bull Tijuana Two-Step to stay on during PBR Everett at Angel of the Winds Arena on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
PBR bull riders kick up dirt in Everett Stampede headliner

Angel of the Winds Arena played host to the first night of the PBR’s two-day competition in Everett, part of a new weeklong event.

Simreet Dhaliwal speaks after winning during the 2024 Snohomish County Emerging Leaders Awards Presentation on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Simreet Dhaliwal wins The Herald’s 2024 Emerging Leaders Award

Dhaliwal, an economic development and tourism specialist, was one of 12 finalists for the award celebrating young leaders in Snohomish County.

In this Jan. 12, 2018 photo, Ben Garrison, of Puyallup, Wash., wears his Kel-Tec RDB gun, and several magazines of ammunition, during a gun rights rally at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
With gun reform law in limbo, Edmonds rep is ‘confident’ it will prevail

Despite a two-hour legal period last week, the high-capacity ammunition magazine ban remains in place.

Everett Fire Department and Everett Police on scene of a multiple vehicle collision with injuries in the 1400 block of 41st Street. (Photo provided by Everett Fire Department)
1 in critical condition after crash with box truck, semi in Everett

Police closed 41st Street between Rucker and Colby avenues on Wednesday afternoon, right before rush hour.

The Arlington Public Schools Administration Building is pictured on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
$2.5M deficit in Arlington schools could mean dozens of cut positions

The state funding model and inflation have led to Arlington’s money problems, school finance director Gina Zeutenhorst said Tuesday.

Lily Gladstone poses at the premiere of the Hulu miniseries "Under the Bridge" at the DGA Theatre, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mountlake Terrace’s Lily Gladstone plays cop in Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge’

The true-crime drama started streaming Wednesday. It’s Gladstone’s first part since her star turn in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.