Since I submitted my initial letter to the editor, appearing in the June 20 issue of The Vidette, I have been able to obtain and read the Investigators Report written by Detective Sergeant Shane Krohn (on loan from the Hoquiam Police Department) of the Internal Investigation of Russ Burke. This report lists many misleading statements and unverified information provided by City Administrator Kristy Powell, but presented by the Detective as facts. I begin with one that pertains to my involvement, the details on the surplus paint sprayer: It was reported to the detective on 2/14/13 in an email from Kristy Powell that the old paint sprayer was recommended for surplus in 8/2011 “as it no longer worked” and the original cost of the paint sprayer was “around $6,000.”
A quote from Alpine Paint in July of 1994 to purchase this sprayer was $3,995 (not in the report). I also contacted Alpine Paint to confirm the price of the 1995 sprayer and they confirmed the range would have been between $3,500 and $4,000. It was eventually purchased by the City of Montesano on November 28, 1995 (again, not in the report). Could this be like an antique car where the value increases with age, somehow increasing in value by $2,000 in 17 years? To answer that, 12 years later, 2007, the City purchased their new sprayer at the cost of $4,300. The invoice reported in the Detectives report included an additional nozzle, wand, filter and sales tax totaling $4,777.78. Of course, this was reported and widely publicized to have cost the City and tax payers $6,000.
Another concern — it is well documented that the useful life of a paint sprayer is 10 years (not in the report). The City of Montesano was able to utilize the old sprayer for 12 years before purchasing a new sprayer in 2007; this is a full two years before Mr. Burke started his painting business. It was four years before the old paint sprayer was declared surplus. How could there possibly be a correlation? The old paint sprayer Mr. Burke eventually obtained in 2011 was now 16 years old, well beyond its useful life and had not been used in four years. Good for Mr. Burke if it only cost him $500 to get it usable. It is by no means his primary paint sprayer as he owns three.
This is a small piece of Detective Krohn’s report and it has several misleading statements, misnomers, and unverified information, of which there are many more in the report, but this is not for me to address in my letter. It is, however, for councilpersons and others who are privy to this report to think about and hopefully research for themselves, as I have done. It is my hope that KIRO 7 should be contacted by our Mayor to do a follow up story and tell the real truth. Let’s not jump to conclusions about what has been said by the administrator and mayor. It’s strictly their opinion and not fact.