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Posted on: August 6, 2021

Council Member Shepard Censured by Ethics Hearing Officer

On February 4, 2021, Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson submitted a complaint alleging that Council Member Peggy Shepard had, in multiple instances, violated Snoqualmie Code of Ethics Chapter 2.80 of the Snoqualmie Municipal Code, the state Code of Ethics for Municipal Officers RCW 42.23, and the Appearance of Fairness Doctrine RCW 42.36.

Council Member Shepard provided a written response to the complaint including exhibits on May 14, 2021. 

An ethics hearing was held on June 22, 2021, during which Mayor Larson and Council Member Shepard made presentations and provided testimony. Both provided submissions and exhibits before and after the hearing. 

Ethics Hearing Officer Grant S. Degginger subsequently issued a Letter of Censure* to Council Member Shepard, in which he states, “After listening to the presentations and testimonies of the parties at the hearing, reviewing the submitted exhibits and applicable statues and case law, it has been determined that (she) has committed multiple violations of the City’s Code of Ethics.” 

The violations include: (1) participating as a decisionmaker in quasi-judicial proceedings that require impartiality while privately advocating an outcome and (2) improperly disclosing privileged and confidential information and legal advice. The violations are detailed in the Finding of Fact, Conclusions and Recommendations document. 

Previously, in August 2020, Snoqualmie Council Members censured Council Member Shepard for violating the Snoqualmie Code of Ethics, specifically making statements that were false, made without evidence, and in willful disregard of their truth or falsity. 

*A censure is a formal statement of disapproval for actions deemed inappropriate. As stated in the Snoqualmie Code of Ethics, “The proper operation of democratic representative government requires that elected and appointed public officers and employees be independent, impartial, and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made in the proper channels of the government structure; that public office not be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government.”

Reference Documents

Scheduling Order for June 22, 2021 Ethics Hearing (06/07/2021)
Ethics Hearing Officer Letter of Censure (07/19/2021)
Finding of Fact, Conclusions, and Recommendations (07/19/2021)

Mayor Larson’s Complaint (02/04/2021)
Council Member Shepard’s Response to the Complaint (05/14/2021)

Ethics Hearing Video (06/22/2021)

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Contact:
Gail Folkins

gfolkins@snoqualmiewa.gov

425-275-7950
 

 

 

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