Bellevue City Hall

Bellevue resident Harvey Wiltsey, through the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, is claiming “gross irregularities” in the Bellevue City Council’s vote earlier this year to give itself and the mayor pay raises.

In a letter to City Attorney Bree Robbins dated Sept. 10, attorney Robert Laubenthal states the ordinance introduced regarding the pay raise as Ordinance 3953, but minutes of the Aug. 6 meeting indicate the council approved Ordinance 3951 that concerned a rezoning matter.

Additionally, Wiltsey claims the amendment that allows for a perpetual 2% raise for the council and mayor beginning Dec. 1, 2021 to the salary ordinance should not have been voted upon without giving the public notice of the annual raises.

In its vote on the matter, Laubenthal points out official minutes show council members Bob Stinson, Pat Shannon, Don Preister and Kathleen Welch voting yes to amend the ordinance, and council members Paul Cook and Thomas Burns voting no.

In the vote on the amended ordinance, Stinson, Shannon, Preister and Welch voted yes, and Cook and Preister voted no leaving no official record of how Burns voted.

In his letter, Laubenthal writes, “The 2% increases for the future although generic to the original motions are of such magnitude to be greater in subject matter and scope than the original proposed Ordinance. Mr. Wiltsey believes, as I do, that the Ordinance was not passed and if considered passed should be void.”

In an Oct. 2 written response to Laubenthal, Robbins states the city followed state statute by having the ordinance “read by title” on three separate meetings, and at the Oct. 1 council meeting City Clerk Susan Kluthe requested approval of amended minutes from the Aug. 6 meeting after it was discovered there were several clerical errors from that meeting.

In her response, Robbins states a public hearing on the pay raises was held July 16 and Wiltsey did not come forward to speak.

Robbins concluded her letter saying Ordinance No. 3953 was validly passed and approved and the matter closed.

Correction: This article incorrectly stated Robbins' response said Wiltsey came forward to speak at the July 16 public hearing. It did not. 

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