News Roundup -- Falsifications added up/Earl to lead city engineers/15.39 inches of rain to date/Alternate gifts present $22K/Boxes of books for the troops/Sco

Falsifications added up

Whatever reason Will Peddy gave for lying on his resume, the city thinks it was a lie, too.

Details of the investigation into Peddy’s resume misrepresentations were released this week, with some of the information redacted. A Superior Court judge blocked the city from releasing all of the information, after a public disclosure request by local online site “The Buzz” prompted a lawsuit by Peddy.

The former city code enforcement officer, fired this past fall after his credentials came into question during a failed mayoral bid, claimed that disclosure would put himself and his family into danger.

In a letter to the city, Peddy’s attorney made vague reference to a “double life,” although the city eventually concluded that even that claim “(made) no sense.”

“You also would not provide any information or means for the city to independently verify this story,” the city wrote in its investigation findings, dated Nov. 10, when Peddy’s employment was terminated. “At this point, it is our belief that the [redacted] claim is simply a fabrication to avoid the truth.”

The city’s investigation was conducted by attorney Katherine Weber of the firm Inslee Best Doezie and Ryder. During the inquiry, the documents show, Peddy admitted that he did not attend the University of California and did not hold a degree from that institution, as he had claimed when he was hired in 1997.

His military service also was falsified, the investigation found. Peddy claimed to have served in the Marines from 1968-71, discharged with the rank of corporal after a stint in Vietnam in which he earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.

The city found that Peddy was discharged as a private and did not earn any medals for valor, and found no evidence that he had served in Vietnam.

Other discrepencies in his education and employment history were found as well.

Peddy will not be returning to the city as his window to appeal the firing closed on Jan. 3 without any action on his part.

“This was an unfortunate event and we are glad to move on with the business of the city,” City Administrator Mary Jo Briggs said in a statement.

– Douglas Crist

Earl to lead city engineers

Robert C. Earl of Indianola has joined the city as engineer – with a capital E – the Department of Public Works announced this week.

Earl will head the engineering section, succeeding Roger Mustain, who left the organization in December to take a private-sector post.

He emerged as the top pick among nine applicants screened by a hiring committee, said Randy Witt, public works director.

Earl is a civil engineer with 20 years’ experience in public works project management in Washington, California and the Middle East.

Witt worked with Earl in public works for the city of Bremerton, where Witt was city engineer and Earl managed projects including extensive upgrades to a troublesome and controversial sewage treatment plant.

During that project, he went door to door to speak with every neighbor along the route of an unpopular traffic detour.

He was interested in the Bainbridge post, he said, because of “the community’s high level of involvement in government, and its clear desire to respect the island’s history, character and livability while permitting growth.”

He cited community outreach, particularly for politically charged projects, as among his strengths.

“If we’re just going to rubber-stamp our way through life, that seems kind of boring,” he said. “This seems riskier, but more interesting.”

– Douglas Crist

15.39 inches of rain to date

Science teacher Doug Olson of Sakai Intermediate School reports from the school’s weather station that 15.39 inches of rain have fallen in the last 26 consecutive days of rain, about three times more than the island normally gets in that same amount of time.

This January alone has seen 6.28 inches to date, compared to 4.18 inches for the entire month of January last year.

Bainbridge’s yearly average is 36 inches of rain. Olson predicts this year’s rainfall (measured from October to October) to be “way above average...unless we have a severe drought.”

– Tina Lieu

Alternate gifts present $22K

The fourth annual Alternative Gift Project raised $22,488, a record for the event, during the 2005 holiday season for local, national and international nonprofit organizations.

The leading local beneficiaries are the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island’s Ugandan wells project ($3,000), the Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Islands Association ($1,287), the ALIVE domestic violence shelter ($675) and Stillwaters Environmental Education Center ($540).

Almost 200 people purchased gifts, more than 100 from outside the Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church congregation. The church’s Social Action Committee spearheads the project.

During its first year, the project garnered $4,000, and more than $17,000 last year, said co-chair Carrie Klein.

Boxes of books for the troops

The Friends of the Library, with Island School and the library’s Young People’s department, are sending care packages of books to troops overseas and are seeking sponsors to pay for postage.

The Friends of the Library selects the books, and the Young People’s department and Island School third-graders will make cards and bookmarks to send with them. Visit the sale and sponsor a box from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today on the library’s lower level.

Scouts recycle 500 trees

Bainbridge Island Boy Scout Troop 1564 collected and recycled a record 500 Christmas trees on Jan. 7, up from 400, the high in the last 10 years.

Residents called or emailed the troop in advance for a pickup, for which a $10 donation was requested. Donations support Boy Scout activities.

The troop, consisting of boys ages 11 to 18, went house to house in donated trucks to pick up trees and drop them off at a large flatbed truck donated by Fairbank Construction.

Linda Lemon, the mother of one of the Scouts, says they appreciate the supportive islanders who put their trees out on the curb where they can be quickly picked up.

The larger trees, up to 20 feet tall, were sawed into smaller pieces to fit in the truck. Donations the Scouts received ranged from nothing to double the requested $10.

– Tina Lieu

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