Judge Delays Kennewick Mayoral Recall Petition Decision
A hearing Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court didn't yield any new developments over a recall petition for Kennewick City Mayor Don Britain.
Judge Spanner, overseeing the case, has scheduled another hearing to allow both parties more time to make their arguments. He publicly questioned the validity of the petition seeking to have Britain removed.
Britain was fired from his DSHS job last fall over allegations of an inappropriate relationship (non-romantic or sexual) with a client. Britain, who is fighting the dismissal, was accused of signing a joint lease agreement with a client, (a single mother with two children) and they all lived in the apartment in 2019. He was also found to have used airline miles to purchase a ticket for the client to Hawaii at the same time he went there, but they did not travel or vacation together. The Washington State Patrol conducted the investigation.
A Kennewick resident named Richard Bilskis has filed the recall petition, but admitted in court Britain's allegations did not occur while he was acting in official city capacity.
Bilskis and his supporters claim Britain violated the city code of ethics and the law. The petition claims the money given the DSHS client by way of actions from Britain constitute felony theft, illegal favors.
Britain has claimed he gained no advantage from his actions, as he was simply trying to help the woman, who was in danger of losing housing and access to an educational program in the Tri-Cities. Britain said the living arrangement was for convenience, as he needed an apartment anyway due to a recent divorce.
It will depend upon the Judge to decide if an elected or other city official can be removed/recalled over conduct that is not directly related to their city governmental position. The next hearing is scheduled for February 26th.