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Peddy moves to seal documents

Will Peddy -
Will Peddy
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Fired city code enforcement officer and failed mayoral candidate Will Peddy is gearing up for a court fight to protect documents he says could put his safety at risk if made public.

During a city investigation into allegations that he padded his resume, Peddy disclosed “a secret that, if revealed, could expose himself and his family to very real danger,” wrote Peddy’s attorney, Greg Rhodes, in asking a Kitsap Superior Court judge to halt the release of documents relating to Peddy’s dismissal.

The Bainbridge Buzz, an online newsletter, in November requested release of all documents pertaining to the city’s investigation of Peddy, under the state’s Public Disclosure Act.

Rhodes filed for an injunction in Superior Court to halt the records’ release, putting the documents in a legal limbo until a Jan. 6 hearing in Port Orchard. While the purportedly sensitive information that turned up during the Peddy inquiry was short on detail, his attorney said, it has potential to cause harm to Peddy and his family.

“Even in its sparse form, this information, if true, would compromise (Peddy’s) safety and right to privacy, were it disclosed,” according to Rhodes.

Doubts were raised about Peddy’s work history and volunteer experience during his campaign for mayor of Bainbridge. Days before the September primary, Buzz co-publisher Althea Paulson alleged that Peddy expressed inaccuracies in a resume circulated to local press.

Chief among the discrepencies was Peddy’s assertion that he held a biology degree from the University of California at Davis. The university refuted that claim, while some civic involvement listed on the resume was challenged by the organizations with which he claimed to Peddy’s public life ground to a halt after the discrepencies were disclosed, and he has made no direct comments to local press except for a short concession statement released after his third-place primary election defeat.

Peddy’s campaign manager, Jim Olsen, said the resume inaccuracies were due to campaign staff errors.

But a transcript from a 2002 civil case shows Peddy making many of the now-refuted work history claims under oath.

The city’s own investigation into Peddy’s background ended with his firing in mid-November from the code enforcement officer job he held for seven years.

Olsen says Peddy may contest the firing through his union. The deadline to do so is Tuesday, and no appeal has been registered with the city, according to Administrator Mary Jo Briggs.

Peddy and Rhodes declined to comment further than the court statement.

Olsen framed Peddy’s travails as a political witch-hunt against his former candidate.

“Bainbridge Buzz is a fourth-rate partisan and malicious blog site set on a vendetta against Mr. Peddy,” Olsen said in an email. “I wonder why? The Buzz owner fancies herself as a Carl Bernstein in a dress working on bringing down a president or administration. I wish the story would die a respectable death.”

Paulson said Peddy’s former role as code enforcement officer made him “a crucial decision-maker for years,” and believes it’s in the public’s interest to air the city’s records.

“Concluding the matter is our only interest,” Paulson said. “The public has the right to know.”

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