The Washougal City Council approved an inter-local agreement to form a joint economic development effort with the city of Camas and the Port of Camas-Washougal last night — but not without some opposition.
The vote was 5 to 2, with “no” votes placed by Dave Shoemaker and Michael Delavar.
Shoemaker said he had concerns before the creation of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association. They included a need to resolve the appearance of a conflict of interest in hiring former Camas Mayor Paul Dennis as director of the association. Shoemaker also said there needs to be a good mission statement.
The Port recently selected Cascade Planning Group and its principal, Dennis, to be awarded a contract for economic development professional services. Cascade would be the primary service provider, and E.D. Hovee and company would serve in a supporting role.
Delavar referred to the legal opinion of Roger Knapp, city attorney for Camas, regarding whether the personal services contract between the port and Cascade Planning Group violates the city’s code of ethics. The opinion assumes the contract is with Cascade and not with the mayor personally.
Knapp wrote that Cascade Planning Group is not a former employee of the city.
“Not a former employee? You must be kidding,” Delavar said.
Knapp also wrote that if the city’s code of ethics does apply, there has been no violation because there is no evidence the mayor used his mayoral position primarily for his personal benefit rather than the benefit of the city.