Thursday, October 29, 2015

Links ... and ... Another Day, Another Allegation of Fraud in the County

A complaint of medicaid fraud has been filed with the state Attorney General's Office against San Juan Island Emergency Medical Services. The AG's office is investigating medicaid reimbursement claims for air ambulance services. Not much is available about this story yet, but there was a brief announcement in the San Juan Islander.

Regarding the mysterious lawsuit referred to in the previous post, some readers have been asking to see the actual court filings. Here is a link to the complaint. Here is a link to the first set of exhibits. Here is a link to the second set of exhibits. Here is a link to the third set of exhibits. Fascinating reading.

The county has said that it's all a big misunderstanding. Read and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

San Enumclaw County

The long awaited departure of Sam Gibboney from the Department of Community Development (DCD) finally occurred today when our County Manager reassigned Gibboney to Public Works, from whence she came in November 2013. To get Gibboney back into Public Works, our County created a new position for her as Deputy Director ... so since departing Public Works two years ago, and then doing such a bang-up job in Planning, Gibboney heads back to Public Works in a higher position than she left (she was previously Solid Waste Program Manager).

To backfill Gibboney's position at DCD, the County hired Erika Shook from Enumclaw. Mike Thomas, our County Manager, came from Enumclaw. Our new Hearing Examiner is also the Hearing Examiner from Enumclaw. Bear in mind that our County's mysterious unofficial wetland scientist, "JT", also originates from Enumclaw.

Before Enumclaw, Shook worked for Triad Associates, and before that she worked for Snohomish County. She graduated in 1992 from the University of Washington with a BA in Urban Planning, so it makes perfect sense that another urban planner would end up in a rural county of only 16,000 people (not). According to the Draft 2016 San Juan County budget, we have 18 full-time people planning our future in DCD.

Apparently, Shook was hired without any public announcement of an open position nor using any competitive hiring process that we are aware of. While we do not know who our County might hire next, odds are they're currently working for Enumclaw. Enumclaw now serves as the minor league farm system for San Juan County government employees.

Anyone want to take bets on how long before Triad Associates gets a contract with Public Works too?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mysterious Lawsuit

I know ... I know ... the TH disappeared again, but we'll be back in the saddle again soon. Life happens.

A lot has been happening. No shortage of things to inform you of ... just a shortage of time to do it. Here's a smattering of what's been going on:
  • There have been more departures of key staff from the county. 
  • The OPMA lawsuit ruling came down from the State Supreme Court, and the County won ... and the decision drives a truck through the daylighting requirements of the OPMA. If there was ever a case that illustrates our County's (and now our Supreme Court's) commitment to secret government, this is it.
  • CSA and the Friends have both petitioned the Washington State Supreme Court to hear the CAO case. The Washington Appeals Court upheld the County position that the County CAO ordinance is legal. CSA believes our CAO results in unreasonable takings ... a Constitutional violation. CSA is now being represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF). You can find PLF blog posts about the case here and here.
  • The County Council gave up on passing greenhouse regulations. Now, they are focusing on the Shoreline Master Plan (SMP) update. The SMP update is a mess. We haven't focused on it much, but we will try to get some info to you as it progresses.
  • And of course, we are in election season. There are important elections for the hospital on San Juan, Port Districts, and School Boards. Too many to cover in a short post, but feel free to comment in the comments section.
However, while we wanted to quickly update you on all the goings on in the County, the main reason for this post is to let you know about a mysterious lawsuit that has been filed in Skagit County ... yes, Skagit County ... against San Juan County. We heard about this from an announcement on King5 News ... or that is to say, that we would have heard about it from King5 News if it weren't for the fact that King5 News is currently blacked out on our Dish Network because of an ongoing dispute. Instead, a TH reader sent us a video clip of the King5 News broadcast. It sounds like the lawsuit might be about Portland Fair, but we don't know enough to be sure.

We will be watching as this story develops