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FORUM

Calling for change at Sunnyside City Hall

It seems our city council is determined to allow Frank Sweet to stay on the city's payroll regardless of the serious allegations he is facing.

Does the council not realize that it could take months, possibly years for Mr. Sweet to resolve these issues? Is this a wise move to allow an individual to be in a position who would have access to all citizen records, personnel files, all of the city's financial and confidential information and to the city's finances and banking during this time?

Being charged with injury to public records and third degree theft are crimes that are rooted in dishonesty. It is obvious that this is no small matter. For a judge to issue a search warrant has nothing to do with "politics" as Mr. Sweet is claiming.

I am not proficient at law but doesn't a judge have to review an affidavit and to issue a search warrant there has to be probable cause?

Probable cause is defined as "more likely than not" a crime has occurred. When probable cause is defined in Webster's Legal Dictionary it states: "reasonable grounds, based on substantial evidence, for believing a fact to be true under the fourth amendment, a person cannot be arrested for a crime unless there is probable cause to believe that he/she committed it and one's person and property cannot be searched unless there is evidence of a crime will be found."

Why would the city council insist on minimizing this scenario that is facing us by keeping Mr. Sweet on the job? Did I understand correctly that the city council wants to conduct its own investigation? My question would be, at whose expense?

Our Sunnyside Police Department cannot be involved with any investigation, as, would it not be considered a conflict of interest? Is it council's desire then to enlist the services of a private investigative firm and who will pay that cost, the city of Sunnyside?

Mr. Sweet, should, for the best of our city, be placed on administrative leave without any compensation from the city, and if he can't legally be placed on administrative leave then he should be terminated, resolve his legal issues first, get them behind him and then re-apply for the position of our city manager at that time. Council can hire an interim manager in the meantime which would be a greater benefit and lessen any potential liability that could affect our community.

The problem facing us is this, considering the seriousness of these allegations and that they are crimes of dishonesty allowing Mr. Sweet to remain on the job puts our city at great risk. Yes, it is true that he is innocent until proven guilty but the potential for him to be found innocent is just as much as the potential for him to be found guilty.

Are we willing to invest our resources in someone until that decision has been determined by a court of law? Also, we are setting a precedent for any future opportunities, to ever put any city employee on administrative leave, if the need should arise.

We are at a point where we need to speak up for what is right and for what is truly best for the good health of the community in which we live. The most effective way we can do that is to let our voice be heard at the next council meeting on Monday, Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Sincerely,

/s/ Bob Widmann, Sunnyside

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