By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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Former Port Angeles mayors Larry Doyle and Glenn Wiggins and former Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Corby Somerville joined other Ziomkowski supporters, who packed council chambers.
Doyle urged council members to “do the right thing” and reinstate Ziomkowski, an assertion met with loud, extended clapping.
Doyle and Wiggins cited a Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office decision that Ziomkowski not be charged with any crimes related to her cashing out three years of unused vacation days and sick leave totalling $28,862 in violation of city policy.
But under state law the council cannot “hire or fire, or get involved in hiring and firing” of any city employee other than the city manager, Mayor Cherie Kidd said.
The hiring of all employees, except for the city manager, is up to the city manager, Kidd said.
Ziomkowski and interim City Manager Dan McKeen could not be reached for comment this morning.
Ziomkowski, a 24-year city employee, was fired March 15 by then-City Manager Kent Myers for violating city policy for cashing out the vacation and sick days.
Myers’ last day was Tuesday, and today he left for Fredericksburg, Texas, where he will be the new city manager.
A State Patrol investigation had recommended that Ziomkowski be charged with eight crimes, including felony first-degree theft, claiming Ziomkowski “took advantage” of a system she controlled as finance director and that lacked oversight.
But Kitsap County Deputy Prosecuting Jonathan Salamas said in an April 20 interview that “it is unlikely that a jury or fact-finder would conclude that Ziomkowski acted intentionally beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Salamas, citing a state Auditor’s Office report that criticized the city for cash-outs taken by Ziomkowski and other city employees, blamed the city for “unclear policies and inadequate controls.”
The Auditor’s Office said no employees intentionally did anything wrong.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.