Kennewick Mayor disputes complaint filed by Pasco man

KENNEWICK, Wash. – A Pasco man, Roger Lenk, has filed a complaint against Kennewick Mayor Don Britian with the Washington State Executive Ethics Board. Mayor Britain called Lenk’s claims baseless.

“It’s very troubling and I’ve tried to stay above it, but this was the last straw,” Mayor Britain said.

The mayor explained there’s a small group of people in the Tri-Cities who have tried to defame public officials to prevent them from being in office and Lenk is a part of this group.

“You know, it’s just wrong and it’s time to expose this group for what they are,” Britain added.

He said the complaint, filed in early March, has no merit.

In the document, Lenk alleges that Britain potentially violated state ethics law while he worked for the Department of Health and Human Services and abused his position.

Britain was let go from his position with DSHS in 2019 after a WSP investigation found he violated department policy.

READ MORE: Mayor Don Britain fired from DSHS job

“That I conducted city business while at work, and so forth, which I did not. Bringing up photographs that I had on my computer from a vacation that I had in Hawaii, we’re allowed to do that. He’s bringing up a copy of my son’s resume that I assisted him with. If I want to use that de minimis time on my breaks and lunch breaks I’m able to do that and that’s what I did, in no way did I conduct city business when I was at work,” Britain explained.

Lenk, who once worked for the government, said he filed the complaint after Mayor Britain’s legal team sent him a cease and desist letter in February.

“Those are all innapropriate. I got into government to do what’s right for th epeople at the cheapest cost available and we don’t see that now a-days, what we see is, people that want to spend every penny of the public’s dollar that they can and not acting honestly or ethically,” Lenk explained over the phone.

When asked if he’s a part of an elusive, small group that Mayor Britain brought up, Lenk denied any involvement.

“It doesn’t matter where it happens when I see it I go after it. I prefer clean government,” he said.

Lenk is no stranger to filing complaints with officials or cities. A Google search turns up the many cases he’s tried to pursue against others including the former Kennewick mayor.

FROM 2017: Complaint filed against Tri-Cities city manager and mayor

The Washington State Executive Ethics Board sent a release to KAPP KVEW in regards to the complaint.

“The Executive Ethics Board does have an open investigation regarding Mr. Britain and will be looking at any issues that relate to the Board’s jurisdiction under RCW 42.52.  Since this investigation is ongoing, we are not able to discuss the matter at this time.” 

As for Mayor Britain, he won’t back down and plans to file for re-election of Kennewick mayor when the time comes.

“I’m a fighter and no, they’re not gonna convince me not to run they can throw as much dirt out there as they want and I am still gonna run and I expect I’m gonna win,” he said.

KAPP KVEW is still working to investigate Mayor Britains claims of this small group working against officials in Tri-Cities.