Kennewick city councilman censured for ‘misuse of his position’
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Kennewick City Council approved a resolution to censure Councilman John Trumbo.
According to the resolution, Trumbo used his position to investigate a rumor surrounding Pro-Tem Mayor Steve Lee. KAPP-KVEW obtained a police report regarding the rumor, which was a criminal allegation.
It states Trumbo heard from Dan Smith, the Executive Director with the Historical Downtown Kennewick Partnership, that a person saw Lee with a large amount of cocaine that Lee had made available to employees in the break room.
Lee owns Green2Go, a marijuana shop in Finley. Smith said he heard the rumor. According to the report, Trumbo went to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office to report the information on Jan 11.
The resolution states Councilmember Trumbo went to the home of a citizen to investigate a rumor and left his City Council business card when they didn’t answer the door, asking them to call him. This happened on Jan. 10.
Additionally, the resolution says Trumbo “did not have the authority nor was authorized to investigate this matter on behalf of the City or the City Council, yet he used his Council position and City business card.” It states he filed a report with the sheriff’s office based on “unfounded rumors and accusations against an existing Councilmember.”
“We as citizens have an obligation when we hear about potential criminal activity if we feel the need to report that to local law enforcement,” said Kennewick Mayor Don Britain. “Had Mr. Trumbo done that, we wouldn’t be sitting here with this action today.”
The resolution says Trumbo was told by the sheriff’s office that their investigation found the allegation to be unfounded. It claims Trumbo brought the unfounded accusations to the Tri-City Herald for them to research, which further perpetuated a false rumor relation to a current Councilmember, according to the resolution.
“Going after and perpetuating a rumor against another sitting council member, let alone a mayor pro-tem, isn’t what we’re elected to do,” Britain said.
Two votes out of the seven voted against the resolution. Those members include Trumbo and Bill McKay. Trumbo was removed from all boards and commission assignments through the end of the year.
KAPP-KVEW spoke to Councilman Trumbo. He calls the resolution “politically motivated” and it “came off as an ambush last night.”
Trumbo said he has the opportunity to readdress the issue, which will be in two weeks at the next City Council meeting.
Click below to view a copy of the resolution: