It certainly didn’t take long for Sultan City Hall to make the headlines again.
Earlier this year the council was pondering a retreat to be facilitated by a consultant with an assault conviction. When that news hit the street, newly hired city administrator Roy Bysegger stepped in to save the day. Now it’s out that council members were told of Bysegger’s firings from two other jobs, but they didn’t realize that he was once charged with five felonies for alleged misuse of a city credit card when he worked in Susanville, Calif. All charges were dropped and he resigned.
New Mayor C.H. Rowe was behind both the facilitator choice and providing information to the council.
Last year’s elections were barely over when former city administrator Bill Trippett suddenly resigned, only to embroil himself in a legal battle with the city and former employees. The controversy has included accusations of defamatory statements and a sexually charged atmosphere at city hall. In resigning, Trippett cited the new mayor and council heading in a different direction as one of his reasons for leaving.
Rowe has done little to reverse the negative image that developed for the city in the first year of his first term. In fact, he has perpetuated it.
Rowe’s decisions are baffling given his reputation of honesty and integrity. His argument that information about the dropped charges was available to council members in a background report smacks of Clintonesque reasoning and doesn’t explain why he kept quiet about it.
Council members seem to like Bysegger and compliment the work he’s done during his eight months with the city. Bysegger explained his earlier troubles as simply being a part of politics. He said that previous employers "needed a scapegoat."
"Controversy is always going to come up," Bysegger said in a news report.
Now Bysegger has one more tidbit to add to his resume — thanks to Rowe’s failure to communicate with the council more fully.
Perhaps Sultan’s latest soap opera is a result of poor communication skills. Maybe Rowe deserves the benefit of the doubt one more time. If that’s the case, he needs to improve in that area — now. Sultan needs a leader who isn’t going to drop more unpleasant surprises on the council and the city.
That goes for the rest of the city’s government. Elected officials and employees shouldn’t need any more second chances.
But, don’t hold your breath. Considering the antics we’ve seen so far, nothing should surprise anyone after this.