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Additional Charges

Posted on 10th July 2013 at 15:49

The Cowlitz PUD Commission is filing additional charges against ousted PUD General Manager Brian Skeahan, alleging that he was involved in other improper activities during last year’s election, in addition to the three other counts that led to his firing. Today’s Daily News reports on the 2-1 vote at yesterday’s meeting. Commission President Buz Ketcham says that these new allegations came to light after interviews with several employees, who came forward as the previous investigation continued. It’s now claimed that Skeahan directed staff to prepare reports that were used as talking points by then-incumbent PUD Commissioner Mark McCrady, that he illegally delayed retirement compensation payments to top executives until after the November election, and that he directed a public relations firm hired by the Commission to include campaign-related questions in a public survey that was conducted last summer. Contacted by phone, both Skehan and McCrady deny any wrongdoing; Skeahan also says that the Commissioners, including Ketcham, were aware of and approved of his activities. Ketcham is praising the employees that came forward, telling the paper that they were putting “loyalty to the public above loyalty to a former general manager and former commissioner.” Commissioner Ned Piper voted against the new charges, saying that he’s concerned about the “obsession” to pursue a man who’s been gone from the utility for six months. Officials with the Public Disclosure Commission say that they’ll make rulings on all of the allegations at once, which should be out later this year.