I was unaware that Mayor Scott Dudley sent a letter to the Whidbey News Times commenting on the attacks that Keven Graves made about him in a recent editorial until someone who does receive the paper told me about it. I checked the Whidbey News Times website and it does not appear anywhere in the online edition. Apparently the Whidbey News Times reserves the space on their website only for those who do not disagree with the paper and the Keven Graves editorials…apparently Mr. Graves does not consider letters from our Mayor important enough to publish in his online edition. This is just more evidence of the agenda the Whidbey News Times clearly has.
UPDATE- The Whidbey News Times only today added the letter from the mayor to it’s website. The letter was received on the March 27th. It was published today on April 7th, 9 days later.
After the baseless attack on the Mayor in his editorial Keven Graves should do the right thing and at least give the Mayor a chance to refute his baseless claims. Apparently the Whidbey News Times could care less about fairness…
So in the interest in fairness we are publishing it here:
PO Box 1200
Coupeville, WA 98239
RE: Sound Off
I wanted to respond to your recent editorial opinion in the 3/26/14 paper. You stated that I have “little to no regard for public opinion, nor the spirit of open government”. That could not be farther from the truth.
I ran for the office of Mayor with a focus on Public Safety, Economic Development and Increasing Government Transparency. These continue to be my priorities.
Since being elected we have videotaped and televised all of our City Council Standing Committee meetings. As the Council did away with their Standing Committee meetings and replaced them with a monthly City Council workshops, those workshops have been videotaped and televised. Also, since the City Council did away with the Standing Committee meetings, I have been videotaping and televising a series of “Oak Harbor City Updates” on four different topics per month covering Government Services, Finance, Public Safety and Public Works. We continue to videotape and televise our Planning Commission meetings. We created the ability for the public to view our City Council meetings without having to attend them physically by streaming our City Council meetings “live” over the internet. All of these tapings can be easily accessed by pulling them up on our City’s website. We have our City’s vouchers as part of the City Council packets so the public can see exactly how we are spending our taxpayer’s dollars.
Over the next month the City of Oak Harbor will be the first city in the State of Washington to provide it citizen’s with a user friendly budget tool via a company called OpenGov which will allow everyone to see how the City of Oak Harbor spends our citizens’ dollars versus our budget for each and every department. Our citizen’s will also be able to see every check that is written by the City. I have created a “Mayor’s Corner” on our website to assist in communicating with our citizens and being able to receive emails directly from them as well. We have also been communicating via Facebook.
Today, we have the following Facebook sites: City of Oak Harbor, Oak Harbor Police Department, Oak Harbor Police Explorers, Oak Harbor Fire Department, Oak Harbor Marina and the City of Oak Harbor Stray Pet Page. All of the above improvements to the City’s openness have been adopted under my term.
Not only will I continue to communicate with our citizen’s, I will continue to communicate with our City Council as well. When there are issues that have to deal with potential litigation, pending litigation or land acquisition, I will discuss these issues with our City Council in an executive session. Since you report that Councilmember Almberg states “we have had more executive sessions under this mayor than we had under (previous mayor Jim) Slowik’s entire term”, I do not deny that. Your newspaper has been covering what our City has faced as a result of actions under the previous administration. If Councilmember Almberg does not wish to be kept abreast of what is transpiring in executive session, he does not have to attend. It has been a long troubling process correcting the legal issues the previous administration created and unfortunately most of those legal discussions have had to be held in executive sessions.
The decision to cut down the oak tree was not an easy one but it was the right one. The risk and liability the City of Oak Harbor was facing was significant. Making all of the information regarding the risk public prior to the tree’s removal would also significantly add to our liability. I apologize if this action is perceived as if the City of Oak Harbor does not care about public opinion. Our number one priority (see above), will continue to be the safety of our public.
Since I continue to try to make myself accessible and responsive, I am disappointed that not once have you reached out to speak with me. I would welcome your call as well as anyone else wishing to discuss anything that we are doing at the City that may be raising a question.
City of Oak Harbor
work # (360) 279-4502
home # (360) 675-6561
cell # (360) 914-7126