Bainbridge Island City Councilman Ron Peltier has been hit with another ethics complaint alleging improper conduct as an elected official.
The complaint is the third against Peltier since the start of September.
The latest charge, filed with the city’s Ethics Board Oct. 1, was made by a Bainbridge hotel owner who said Peltier called her a liar seven times during a televised council meeting, and soon after sent an email to more than 150 islanders that called her mean-spirited and vindictive.
Central to the complaint are Peltier’s comments at an Aug. 14 council meeting.
At that meeting, Bonnie McBryan, the owner of the Eagle Harbor Inn, asked the council to look into Peltier’s behavior in light of comments made by former city manager Doug Schulze in a farewell interview published in the Kitsap Sun.
McBryan repeated Schulze’s comments that Peltier had acted like a bully, which set off what McBryan characterized as a “derogatory tirade” by Peltier against her at the end of the council meeting and in follow-up letters to Bainbridge residents.
“The council member labeled me mean-spirited, vindictive, and misrepresenting the truth,” McBryan said in her 23-page complaint.
His comments, she said, were “obviously meant to damage my reputation in our island community.”
She also said Peltier had misquoted her in his comments, adding, “the council member put words in my mouth and tried to pass them off as coming from me.”
In an email to the Review, Peltier said his comments on the end of the Aug. 14 meeting came at the end of a tension-filled evening and were “an ill-advised tirade directed at the complainant and at the city manager.”
“In my comments, and in an email later sent to about 120 people, I referred to what I regarded as ‘lies’ and ‘lying’ by the complainant. Should I have been more restrained and chosen my words more carefully? Yes, but those comments came at the end of a very long meeting, starting out with an executive session, during which a lot of things happened, not to mention the lead-up to the meeting.
“Part of my angst came after seeing our mayor, whose job it is to maintain civility, allow a malicious attack, directed at me, and then tell the person engaging in the attack that he appreciated her comments,” Peltier added.
Two other complaints have been filed against Peltier with the city’s Ethics Board.
One also chastised Peltier for “bullying behavior,” and said the councilman “lashed out with intemperate and abusive language.”
The other complaint was submitted by a member of the Slow on Grow Committee, which had been working with neighbors and city officials to lower the speed limit on Grow Avenue. The resident who filed the complaint said Peltier, in a private meeting with proponents, wanted the speed limit proposal expanded to include a reduced speed limit on Lovell Avenue Northwest because the councilman had a home there.
In the most recent complaint, the Ethics Board was asked to review Peltier’s record of “verbal and written tirades” and said the councilman’s comments about her were “borderline defamation.”
“Do these actions demonstrate the ethical integrity, honesty, civility and respect that our community should expect of our elected officials?” McBryan asked in her complaint.
“My complaint asks: When is a public official allowed to undertake a multi-media effort to demean and demonize a citizen? If our City’s Values, Ethics Program, and Governance Manual are not applicable, then why do we have them?”