A 4-3 vote by the Pasco City Council on Tuesday to replace a member of the Pasco and Franklin County Housing Authority Board showed some council members have long memories about former conflicts with the authority board.
Mayor Matt Watkins proposed to replace longtime board member Lester Domingos, whose term is expiring, with former Pasco Fire Chief Greg Garcia.
Earlier this month, the council interviewed Domingos, Garcia and one other applicant for two seats on the board -- the one held by Domingos and one vacant seat.
During the interview, Watkins asked Domingos about a lawsuit the housing authority filed against the city and county a decade ago seeking to block the two governments from dissolving the agency and forming a new housing authority for the city of Pasco alone.
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A judge ultimately ruled that the law allowed the two jurisdictions to create a joint housing authority, but didn't provide for a means to dissolve the joint agency.
City Manager Gary Crutchfield told the council Tuesday that Pasco and Franklin County went to the Legislature for a fix, but the city's then-mayor decided dissolving the agency would be more hassle than simply replacing board members.
Three of the agency's five board members have been replaced since then, Crutchfield said.
Domingos told the council when he interviewed for re-appointment to the board earlier this month that previous conflicts between the housing authority board and the council were driven by the agency's former executive director.
But Watkins, who is tasked with proposing appointments to city boards and commissions, said Tuesday that he wasn't satisfied with that answer.
"I think it is time for a change," he said.
Councilman Al Yenney objected to replacing Domingos with Garcia when another position still will be vacant.
"I felt we interviewed (Garcia) for the vacant position, not the position up for re-appointment," Yenney said.
Traditionally, the council has re-appointed anyone who re-applies for a position, he said.
"This goes against the way appointments have been done," Yenney said.
But Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Francik said that wasn't a good argument for re-appointing someone if they weren't the best person for the job.
Watkins, Francik, and councilmen Bob Hoffmann and Mike Garrison voted in favor of appointing Garcia. Yenney and councilmen Saul Martinez and Tom Larsen voted no.