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Did candidate Peddy pad resume?

Will Peddy -
Will Peddy
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Claims of a college degree by mayoral candidate Will Peddy were inaccurate, his campaign manager admitted this week, after the candidate’s resume was questioned by a local online news site.

The Bainbridge Buzz, an online community news site published by Cathy Nickum and supported by local sponsors, disputed Peddy’s claim that he earned a degree in biology from the University of California at Davis. Peddy’s campaign has since retracted the claim and issued an “amended” resume document.

In the initial resume he crafted for his campaign, Peddy, the city’s code enforcement officer, listed “Bachelor Degree – Biology” under an “educational background” listing. He also made the claim of a college degree to another area newspaper during a candidate interview, according to reports published this week.

Peddy told Buzz writers on numerous occasions that he had earned a degree at UC-Davis, Nickum said.

The Buzz called the university’s registration office and found no record of Peddy, according to Nickum.

Confronted with the discrepancy, Peddy again reasserted that he had graduated, Nickum said.

However, his campaign manager issued a new resume Tuesday evening, deleting reference to a degree. The new resume now refers to “U.S. military service and real-life work experience as the functional equivalent of an undergraduate degree.”

Peddy did not return repeated requests by the Review for comment, but campaign manager Jim Olsen said the Peddy resume’s reference to a bachelor’s degree was “in fact, (an) erroneous statement,” and in a subsequent interview referred to it as “a typo.”

The Buzz also challenged Peddy on a number of other items on his resume, including his claim that he was “Director of the Building and Planning Department” for the City of Colville in 1980 during a two-year work stint.

Calls to the Colville city clerk determined that the city did not have a planning director at that time, according to the Buzz. The clerk’s office also stated Peddy worked only 11 months for the city, and not two years as his resume claimed.

Olsen did not challenge the Buzz’s investigation into Peddy’s work in Colville, but issued a lengthy rebuttal against other published assertions.

Olsen said the Buzz “egregiously distorts facts and attempts to pass fiction or political agenda...as fact.” He also said a “pattern of distortion (is) being waged” by Nickum “for the purpose of slandering a Bainbridge Island mayoral candidate and influencing the outcome of the election.”

On Wednesday, the Peddy campaign threatened legal action against both the Buzz and the Bainbridge Island Review newspaper. Nickum also writes a general-interest column for the Review, but conducted her investigation into Peddy’s resume independently.

“FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED. That wasn’t a story. You delude yourself. Political hack,” Olsen wrote, in a Sept. 15 email to Nickum and to the Review.

But after reviewing the Peddy campaign’s rebuttal, Nickum said she stands by the Buzz’s story, and posted Peddy’s original resume online “for the record.”

“We also have a lawyer, so we’re ready,” she said.

Nickum said she and Buzz contributor Althea Paulson’s initial investigations into Peddy’s past were sparked by comments he made about a structural engineering job he had with the City of Fresno despite having no engineering degree.

Nickum said personal meetings with Peddy and other citizens’ comments about the candidate also sparked suspicion.

“Some of the things he was saying just didn’t add up,” she said.

Additional questions about Peddy’s experience came to light after the Buzz’s story. On Friday morning, the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council called the Review to refute the claim on Peddy’s resume that he had been affiliated with that organization.

“I’ve never heard of this man,” KRCC Executive Director Mary McClure said. “I’m keenly aware of how the island participates, and I don’t want the KRCC listed inappropriately. This is alarming.”

City Administrator Mary Jo Briggs said this week that the city will investigate whether Peddy used false information on his resume with the city.

He has been employed for the past eight years in the planning department.

In a written commentary Olsen posted to the Buzz site late in the week, and which was subsequently removed by the editors, Olsen called Briggs “a hypocrite” and made vague allegations of improprieties by Mayor Darlene Kordonowy and other city officials.

“Wait until the next IED (im­provised explosive device – META­PHOR­ICAL ONLY for those who think it is a threat) hits Mayor K on issues of other very funny business she and senior staff have been up to,” Olsen wrote.

Kordonowy was out of the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Nickum said she believes Peddy’s four days of silence on the resume issue needs to come to an end.

“Olsen’s doing all the speaking and we need to hear from the candidate,” she said. “As a voter, I think truthfulness is pretty high on the qualification list for the mayor of our town. Peddy needs to come clean with the public.”

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