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Policeman sworn in as Mabton councilman

MABTON - The Mabton City Council chose Johnnie Gusby to join the council last night following a short discussion about conflict of interest and nepotism issues. Gusby, a Sunnyside policeman, and Richard Pena, a retired law enforcement officer, were the only candidates for the position left vacant last month when longtime councilwoman Vera Zavala was appointed city mayor. Pena's eligibility was called into question because his wife, Yolanda Pena, is a city employee, explained Zavala. Zavala explained the Association of Washington Cities guidelines regarding nepotism and conflict of interest rulings explain that married couples, where one serves in a governing capacity and the other as a public employee, is deemed to be a conflict of interest. Upon hearing the ruling, Pena withdrew his application for the council position. The council then voted to accept Gusby as the new councilman. Gusby will fill out the remaining two and half years of a four-year term, according to Mabton City Clerk Ret Stewart, who administered the councilman's oath of office.

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