MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Governor loses lawsuit after being accused of ‘secret negotiations’

Apr 4, 2023, 8:36 AM | Updated: 9:11 am

cadf...

Washington State Capitol Building (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

The Citizen Action Defense Fund (CADF) won its lawsuit Monday against the Governor’s Office for refusing to hand over initial offers in collective bargaining negotiations even after the parties had signed agreements — a violation of the Public Records Act.

CADF, with a slogan defining itself as “your government watchdog,” is an independent, nonprofit organization based in Washington state that involves itself in litigation for cases to advance free markets, restrain government overreach, or defend constitutional rights.

Real estate excise tax could become highest in nation with new bill

“I am very pleased at the court’s ruling today,” said Jackson Maynard, Executive Director of CADF, in a prepared statement. “As I argued to the judge, the Public Records Act is a cornerstone of representative government because it ensures that the people can hold their public officials and institutions accountable.”

Maynard served as counsel on the lawsuit.

The suit was initially filed last December against the Office of Financial Management (OFM) for failing to provide public records in connection with the governor’s “secret negotiations” with public sector employee unions last year, which led to nearly a billion-dollar increase in salary and benefits for state employees biennially.

The agreements were politically controversial as the unions made significant political donations to the governor in the months leading up to the 2022 elections, according to CADF.

On Oct. 20, 2022, CADF claimed OFM was refusing to provide copies of the state and unions’ original offers in the negotiations until after the Legislature approved the entire General Fund state budget during the current 2023 session.

OFM continued to withhold the documents after CADF submitted a new request pointing out that the Public Records Act has no such limitations on public records.

WA attorney general joins others in Google lawsuit

“The governing majority in Olympia and Seattle has been called into question the last several months over the failure to retain and disclose public records to the press and the citizens of our state,” Maynard continued. “The court’s decision today is a win not only for CADF but also the effort to promote transparency, which is the hallmark of our democracy. OFM should not be able to rewrite the law to shield important information from taxpayers to suit the Governor’s political needs.”

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson will hand out the final monetary penalties on April 28.

KIRO Newsradio’s Matt Markovich contributed to this reporting

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Pierce County deputies have reported an office-involved shooting....

Julia Dallas

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department reports officer-involved shooting

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department has reported a shooting involving an officer took place on Monday.

40 minutes ago

Photo: King County deputies seized more than a dozen guns after making two arrests in May....

Julia Dallas

King County deputies make arrests; seize nearly 30 pounds of drugs, 18 firearms, flame thrower

King County deputies made two arrests leading to the seizure of more than 25 pounds of drugs and more than a dozen firearms.

1 hour ago

Photo: The Washington State Patrol is cracking down on people who cut in ferry lines....

James Lynch

Don’t be that person: State troopers fine ferry line cutters $145

Have you ever been frustrated by a driver who cut in line at a ferry terminal? Now the Washington State Patrol is cracking down.

3 hours ago

Photo: A deputy's body camera captured a runaway wallaby in Parkland....

Julia Dallas

Runaway wallaby hops out of arms reach of deputies in Parkland

 A wallaby was caught on camera running around Parkland Sunday morning. Pierce County deputies and WSP responded.

4 hours ago

seattle sex trafficking...

Frank Sumrall

Seattle resident arrested for sex trafficking in San José

A San José special operations unit arrested a Seattle resident last week on suspicion of alleged commercial sex trafficking.

8 hours ago

5-car crash sr 900...

Frank Sumrall

Mustang causes 5-car crash on SR 900 after veering onto oncoming traffic

A 5-car crash on State Route 900 (SR 900) in Renton Sunday led to four injured individuals, a five-hour highway backup and a brush fire.

10 hours ago

Governor loses lawsuit after being accused of ‘secret negotiations’