Letters to the editor can be sent to Regional Executive Editor Eric Schwartz at eschwartz@yelmonline.com.

On April 14, during a meeting, the Tenino City Council agreed to pay $23,000 to the Washington Municipal Clerks Association for expenses. Tenino Clerk Treasurer John Millard stated that the city would be reimbursed. Council packets and minutes of subsequent meetings lacked documents supporting this “loan.” Tenino’s 2020 Budget Position lists a $270,448 “loan” payment to “WMCA 50th Anniversary Conference”.

A public records request was submitted on Nov. 11, 2020, asking for all documents related to the “loan.” Clerk Millard responded that he searched but could not find any documents. He also had WMCA’s treasurer provide a relevant email stating that “the City of Tenino has no contracts with WMCA.” A followup email from us asked how a $23,000 “loan” ballooned to $270,448?

Mr. Millard answered that an investigation was underway with various agencies. The Washington State Auditor’s Office is presently conducting two investigations. It could take until the end of 2021 to complete an audit and the current investigations. According to Millard, there is no documentation currently available. It may be the end of December or beyond before information is available.

Our concern is that there appears to be no documentation to justify this expenditure. 

Action to approve the expenditure taken by the council members during the April 2020 meeting did not include a directive for development of a contract with WMCA. Expenditures of public funds must have a documented reason and justification for the expenditure.


D. Jean Pettit &. Mike Brown, former mayors of Tenino

Shaun Brown, citizen, Tenino

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