YACOLT — Yacolt Town Council meetings have recently had a bit more back-and-forth between the councilors and attendees than you’d normally see at other meetings, but that’s something town officials are looking to cut back on.
It started at Monday night’s council meeting, when public comment was open only to town residents, something that wasn’t being enforced previously. Mayor Vince Myers said this was done to keep in line with town regulations for meetings, and to keep meetings moving.
Yacolt council meetings have drawn some larger-than-typical crowds this summer, as the council passed a resolution in June speaking out against Initiative 1639, the gun-control measure passed last year by statewide voters.
More recently, the council appointed Danny Moseley to the open Position 2 on the council. He is married to Malita Moseley, a sitting councilor, and she didn’t recuse herself from the vote to appoint him, which upset some. One such person was Michelle Dawson, who also applied for the seat. Her husband, Jeremy Dawson, spoke about the issue at the council’s Aug. 5 meeting, calling it “morally and ethically wrong” for Malita Moseley to cast a vote for her husband.
“I’ve been painted as a demon,” Malita Moseley said after Monday’s meeting. “It’s ridiculous. I cannot respond or defend myself against every comment online. I joined city council two-plus years ago to serve my community, not myself.”
Monday’s agenda included an item to discuss appointments to council. Myers started off the discussion by reading a statement saying the town checked with its attorney and Municipal Research and Services Center, and were assured it was legal for Moseley to participate in the vote.
“The town believes it’s on solid footing with regards to the appointment of Danny Moseley to the council until the election cycle,” Myers said.
He also said Revised Code of Washington chapters cited during the previous meeting when attendees spoke out against the appointment don’t apply to the situation, since those items cited dealt with elected officials’ handling of contracts.
“It simply cannot be twisted to incorporate a nonrelated event to municipality contractual activities,” Myers said.
Danny Moseley’s seat will be included in the November general election. After nobody filed to run during filing week, a special filing period was held earlier this month. Michelle Dawson was the only applicant to file, meaning she will run unopposed for the seat.
During the meeting, Michelle Dawson asked why Danny Moseley was appointed if he wasn’t going to run again in November. He wasn’t at Monday’s meeting due to a family emergency. Malita Moseley said her husband originally did intend to run for the seat again when his appointment was up.
“He made the decision to not run again because he knew the entire campaign would be about his appointment and how I voted for him,” Malita Moseley said. “He decided it wasn’t worth it.”