Hearing on union official’s complaint against PUD delayed

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A hearing that was slated for this week on union official Timm Kelly’s unfair-labor-practice complaint against the Clallam County Public Utility District has been delayed until later this summer, agency Executive Director Mike Sellars said Tuesday.

The delay in holding the state Public Employment Relations Commission hearing, connected to Kelly’s alleged misuse of $24,726 in PUD residency stipends, was requested after the PUD changed attorneys, Sellars said.

The hearing before adjudicator-mediator Emily Martin likely will be in June or July, with a decision expected by November.

“She has to determine if a violation occurred and, if so, what the remedy is,” Sellars said.

Kelly is a PUD lineman and the president and business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 997.

He was fired April 6, 2012, for getting paid $24,726 in PUD residency stipends for periods when he allegedly did not live in Forks.

On March 11, a labor arbitrator ruled Kelly must be offered his old job back because he did not know “the possible disciplinary consequences” of living in two residences and getting paid a stipend to live in one of them.

“District management let five years pass by, convinced that Mr. Kelly was violating the residency requirement, without ever pointing that out to him a single time,” said arbitrator Howell Lankford of Milwaukie, Ore.

PUD spokesman Mike Howe said last week that Kelly is back working for the PUD.

The labor arbitrator also ruled the utility district “shall make [Kelly] whole for pay and benefits lost as a direct result of that termination.”

Howe said Wednesday: “We are still working through that aspect” of the ruling.

Kelly was paid an estimated $550 a month to live in Forks and spent no more than 50 percent of the time doing so from Jan. 1, 2007, to April 6, 2012, by which time he was not living in Forks at all, according to the state Auditor’s Office investigation before Kelly was fired.

“The line foreman was aware of the residency requirement and that the stipend was contingent on his living in the area,” the Auditor’s Office said in its report.

Local 997 filed a grievance on Kelly’s behalf over the termination, which subjected the dispute to binding arbitration.

In its report, the state Auditor’s Office recommended the PUD “seek recovery” of the $24,726 and an additional $1,588 that the Auditor’s Office spent on its investigation.

Kelly still faces an investigation by Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly over the residency stipends.

Deb Kelly, who is not related to Timm Kelly, said she will decide by June whether to file any charges related to the stipends.

Her office first must review “voluminous” investigative records by the state Auditor’s Office.

“This is going to take someone a considerable amount of time to review,” Kelly said.

“I’ve been assigning out sexual assaults, robberies, felony assaults, that sort of thing as a higher priority,” Kelly added.

Timm Kelly did not return repeated requests for comment.

He is the husband of Cindy Kelly, who unsuccessfully ran in November against incumbent PUD Commissioner Ted Simpson, the owner of Angeles Electric in Port Angeles.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 24. 2013 6:07PM
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