Selfish is the best way to describe Tom Grady’s behavior since it became public he was under investigation for allegedly forging records to hide $38,000 in missing money from his former employer, Albertson’s. Actually, that probably describes his behavior the moment he decided to run for Marysville City Council knowing full well the situation he was in.
Grady had no problem talking to the public and the media before the November election when touting his business skills and asking for votes and endorsements. But he was conveniently silent at Monday’s city council meeting — the very meeting at which he was to be sworn into office. Wisely, council members voted to postpone it. There’s no need whatsoever for the city to change established practice to provide political cover for the situation created by Grady’s troubles. His choice of silence has opened a box of confusion that council members, city officials and residents will be left to sort out for weeks, maybe months to come.
One of the most confusing aspects in this muddle is what might happen to Grady’s seat on the new council if he can’t serve. Mayor Dave Weiser’s attempt to move up the swearing in date to this week instead of waiting till after the first of the year, which is normal practice, is questionable. In light of the attention Grady’s case is receiving, we find it difficult to believe that getting a jumpstart on the New Year is as important as Weiser seems to think.
The situation is so confusing there has been speculation that, if Grady can’t or doesn’t fill the seat, his opponent and current council member, NormaJean Dierck, would get the spot by default. That doesn’t appear to be accurate, though. Scott Konopasek, elections manager for Snohomish County, recently told a Herald reporter that "NormaJean is out of luck unless the new city council appoints her." Short of a legal opinion from the state, that’s about as clear a reading of the situation as anyone has given.
The whole situation is unfortunate and unfair for Dierck and Randy Davis, the third candidate who lost in the primary race. But it’s important for people to understand how the process works and to dispel myths and rumors. That’s a lot to ask of people given everything going on right now.
Regardless of Grady’s presumed innocence in the forgery investigation, he bears the responsibility for the latest controversy swarming the council. He dragged his professional and legal problems into the public arena for an entire city to sift through and has refused to bring any peace and resolution to the matter. The city can’t afford anymore problems like this and Grady ought to know that. Marysville is in desperate need of leaders who will put the well-being of the city first and cut out the crazy antics. Those who cannot fit that description should step aside and regain control of their own affairs. That’s a prerequisite to contributing to the management of a city with enough troubles of its own.