EDITORIAL: Mayor Rick Forschler’s tenure must come to a quick end

Editorial by Jack Mayne

The short tenure of SeaTac Mayor Rick Forschler must come to a quick end because of a bewildering list of incredibly inept errors.

His missteps started right after he was elected in November, when Forschler made a fool of himself with an outlandish lecture to the Des Moines City Council. There, he lectured Councilmembers against considering a utility tax. But the real goof was telling citizens at the meeting he would come to their city and help defeat any Des Moines Councilmember who supported the utility tax.

Then there was the interim city manager fiasco. The newly-elected majority on the Council agreed with Forschler to fire City Manager Todd Cutts. The Council held an unprecedented meeting where applicants for interim city manager testified in public on the merits of their being chosen.

The surprise decision came without a single word of explanation to the waiting public. The Council had chosen one of the least qualified candidates as interim city manager. But the most amazing part was that there was not one single word to the public from Mayor Forschler on why this person was chosen. It took a week and a letter to the SeaTac Blog editor to get an explanation.

Then this past week came the final straw. Forschler, without notifying other Councilmembers, invited a Spokane Valley state legislator to testify in SeaTac about whether the Council should accept a long awaited federal grant to construct a new city park.

It took former Mayor Tony Anderson to reveal that the so-called expert was “significantly involved with” Oath Keepers, an organization associated with the anti-government patriot movement. Oath Keepers encourages members not to obey orders that they believe would violate the Constitution.

The Council solidly rejected Forschler’s move to stop the money for the park.

Enough! Forschler must be stopped from continuing his attempt to stamp his personal political agenda on SeaTac.

The people elected Forschler to the Council and he should continue to be a member of the SeaTac Council.

The Council should immediately replace Mayor Forschler with another of its members.

Mayor Rick Forschler at 1.12Council


25 Responses to “EDITORIAL: Mayor Rick Forschler’s tenure must come to a quick end”
  1. D Tapio says:

    Most of the issues raised in this editorial could be easily refuted.

    Forschler had extensive experience with sewer and water districts and was a sewer commissioner for years. He knows the majority of the general managers and staff at the local utility districts. They were very concerned about this tax. As a private citizen it was within his rights to to express his opinion in regards to a utility tax. He also was within his rights to express his opinion to the people of Des Moines. That’s all it was, an opinion. Des Moines has a serious budget problem and they were on the wrong track in proposing a tax on the gross revenue of utility districts.

    One person did not hire the acting city manager. A majority of the council voted to hire the acting city manager. The four council members who voted in favor of hiring the city manager are highly capable people, have extensive qualifications and are long standing residents of the community. They all voted to hire the acting city manager.

    After meeting with the new city manager and talking to him on the telephone in the past weeks I am impressed by his qualifications, willingness to listen to citizens, and responsiveness to issues. I think he may prove to be one of the best city managers the city has had. In addition, he lives locally and understands firsthand the issues with SW King County. The past two city mangers went through extensive hiring processes and their performance was less than stellar. Their contribution to the city has resulted in a lawsuit with damages exceeding $9 million.

    There are serious issues associated with accepting federal grants from HUD. They have changed their requirements and now there will be strings attached to accepting grants to require low income housing. I applaud the mayor for bringing this to the attention of the citizens. The majority of the council voted to accept the grant because they thought the risk was worth taking at this time. That may not be the case starting in 2019.

    • Steve Beck says:

      Give the Mayor a chance, it only been 2 months, the last council and its Mayor’s were running the show for 6 years.
      The citizens of this city voted them out with over a 60 percent margin.
      Where you happy with the previous 6 years, if you were?, then that is why you are complaining now.
      I am for what the citizens vote in, a fresh approach and leaving the big corps & Port to be treated just like any other hard working american, Equally!
      Give our newly elected officials a chance, then in a year, if the Mayor is not working out, we can ask the council to elect a new Mayor.
      Give the mayor a chance to clean up a mess he did not create, he just was elected to fix!

    • Jack Mayne says:

      Mr. Tapio effectively uses the tactics of a defense attorney who has been wounded by facts of the prosecution: throw irrelevant facts and obfuscate.

      Point One, I agree that Des Moines has severe financial problems but that is not my point. I criticized the mayor for walking with muddy feet in the house of a neighbor and displaying horrid and insulting manners. How would SeaTac residents feel about a Burien councilmember coming in to publically chastise SeaTac Council?

      Point Two, I did not criticize the mayor for the person selected as of interim city manager, I criticized the fact that he did not have the good political manners to tell the citizens waiting in the room the reasons for the selection over other highly qualified applicants.

      Point Three, I did not criticize the mayor for attempting to warn Council and citizens of the real potential of future HUD lawsuits – a viable concern. I criticized the highly political choice of the individual he brought in to deliver the message without prior discussion with other Councilmembers.

      • Publius says:

        Like other blog posts, the lack of logic and reason in Mayne’s writings makes it incredibly hard to read. His naked partisanship and bias against service members serving in city government cloaked behind good political manners is hard to read.

        This lack of logic and reason, however, is subordinate to his apparent fear of contrary opinions and ideas. Jack and many others on the ideological left, need “safe spaces” inside city council chambers to help them against being “triggered” from the muddy feet or town gadfly.

  2. Jo Hill says:

    Now, now, Mr Mayne. We the people elected Mr Forshler to do exactly as he is doing. Political agenda? That’s what we’ve had years of from the ‘other’ council we dumped! All their back room deals using our city for their outside national political agendas! Mr Forshler presents all sides! Something the ‘extremist lefties’ never like. ‘Their word and no others heard’.
    As usual, mr Mayne, your ilk slam the messenger
    Rather than discuss the message. Tony Anderson was shameful in his treatment to this decorated war veteran invited to our city to share additional information that would otherwise, not have been heard.
    I appreciate the extent to which Mayor Forschler goes to inform the citizens of our community!
    It’s about time and I applaud him for caring so much!

  3. FYI says:

    FYI-Todd Cutts did not go through an extensive hiring process. He was promoted from Economic Development Manager to Assistant City Manager to City Manager in a rather short period of time.

  4. Mike Condon says:

    The problem here is one of complacency, We had a council that was elected with money from outside interest.They controlled the city with a my way attitude, we now have a council that thinks on it’s own, They voted to accept the park grant, in past sessions what ever Julia and Mia wanted ,would get passed. As far as the city manager goes, Mr Payne is a man with a vision, give him and the council a chance, I just wish I would be here to see how great this city will become. But the city did not realize there was a better way, with a business doing, what politics will not do, help the community.
    Support the new owner and see what can happen to your community!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Melissa says:

    Political agenda?? Laughable! The ones with the agenda were voted out!

  6. Vicki Lockwood says:

    The new Council and appointed Mayor inherited such a tangled mess from the old guard! How can we expect them to begin untangling the wrongs without making some mistakes of their own? Have you EVER untangled a mess from a fishing reel after a newbie made their first attempt to cast the lure? Usually you end up going the wrong way with some of the line, but then you figure out your error and get back on track. Give them some time … they’re feeling their way. Since they didn’t create the mess they inherited, they don’t even know where all the booby traps are. I say be patient and give them the room to make some mistakes … I honestly believe they’ll make course corrections quickly and that they do have their eye on the ultimate destination.

    • McMickenGuy says:

      Forschler is not a newbie. He sat on the council previously. Let’s keep our elected officials accountable on the same level with which you apply your standard.

      What does the mess left by the previous administration you speak of have to do with the mess Forschler is creating for himself and how he governs affecting citizens of Seatac?

      • Vicki Lockwood says:

        McMicken Guy:
        Mr. Forschler is a ‘newbie’ as an appointed Mayor and that’s a different hat than being a Council Member during a meeting. Our former elected Mayor never understood that in that position she was not there to further her own agenda, but rather was there to introduce items on the agenda and insure that all sides had an opportunity to present their ideas and to maintain decorum. As a citizen I was tired of the former Mayor feeding us only one side of every story … HER side. I don’t agree with Mr. Shea’s extremist actions but I am pleased that the flip side of this situation was presented.

        You asked what does the mess left by those voted out of office have to do with Mr. Forschler’s current actions. Well, it’s a bit like The Cactus referred to about action when your house is burning down … you don’t stop to vacuum the floor so that the emergency responders and neighbors will see a spotless floor during the fire. You evacuate and put the fire out. Our current council is operating in a burning house thanks to the former majority Council Members. Yup, there’s going to be ashes and burning embers flying around and there will probably be some water damage as a result of the effort to stop the fire, but their job right now is to put the fire out. We’ll vacuum later.

        • McMickenGuy says:

          You are confusing two different issues. This is an issue of leadership. If an elected official is afraid to make decisions based on possible litigation, then he has no business being in office because you can be virtually sued for any decision being made. An opportunity to enhance the community and with it comes jobs, and voting no against this opportunity is extremely shortsighted, and negligent as an elected. We vote for individuals to lead with progress not revert back to paranoid political ideology. It’s 2016 and I would hope that Seatac does not espouse insular policies that keeps us from staying pace with our South King County neighbors.

  7. Mr. SeaTac says:

    Jack Mayne is a smart man and right on the mark. What took him only six weeks to get will take the rest of you far longer and you may never get it. You are all in denial and in shock because you voted Rick Forschler in. Hopefully you will see things clearer sooner rather than later!

  8. Rick Forschler says:

    I’ve directly addressed each of Jack’s statements below.

    First, my comments to Des Moines were my own as a private citizen. I was not sworn into office at that time and so I was not yet a member of the SeaTac City Council. Although the Des Moines Council members themselves may not have appreciated my words, they were well received by many members of the Des Moines public and a number of those citizens thanked me for offering them.

    Second, all seven members of the SeaTac Council chose to suspend the prior City Manager—not merely the newly elected majority. This placed SeaTac in an urgent situation to find a replacement, since the Assistant City Manager had already tendered her resignation.

    Third, at the meeting where we hired the Interim City Manager, I clearly stated my priorities for qualifications during that meeting. Those were the same qualifications I reiterated in the Letter to the Editor a few days later. I believed then and I still do that we chose the best qualified person for the position of Interim City Manager. While it’s true after the vote was taken no one explained what occurred in the executive session, we are not permitted to share those discussions. The only criteria upon which a decision can be made for a City Manager is dictated by RCW 35A.13.050 “The city manager need not be a resident at the time of his or her appointment, but shall reside in the code city after his or her appointment unless such residence is waived by the council. He or she shall be chosen by the council solely on the basis of his or her executive and administrative qualifications with special reference to his or her actual experience in, or his or her knowledge of, accepted practice in respect to the duties of his or her office.”

    Fourth, establishing the meeting agendas is the duty of the Mayor. I can’t notify all seven council members about speakers on the agenda without potential violation of the Open Public Meetings Act. All City Council members were officially informed at the same time as the public about the agenda for our meeting.

    Lastly, my reason for inviting Matt Shea to testify was to achieve a good level of balance in the discussion. I recognize that he possesses certain views and is known to be a conservative Republican, although he has also spearheaded important bills with cross-party support. Most importantly, I knew that the arguments for accepting the grant would already be well represented at the meeting and I desired to have someone express a balancing opinion. In fact, it was perhaps because of his political views that Matt Shea was so well positioned to balance against the “take the money” position. He did just that.

    I campaigned on transparency and that requires access to a diversity of views. If we hope to arrive at better decisions we need to promote a free flow of ideas, even if we don’t entirely agree with the views of either side.

    • Mr. SeaTac says:

      Mr. Forschler says ” I clearly stated my priorities for qualifications during that meeting.” That is the problem. You are an unelected Mayor acting as if you are an elected Mayor. You came into the meeting with your own agenda and your own list of qualifications and your own hand selected Interim City Manager as per your priorities and qualifications. You did not listen to the responses of the two qualified candidates but instead cut them off when they reached their time limit and never cut off your candidate. You did not seek input from any of the former three Councilmembers and ignored and disrespected them and their input. That is the truth.

      • Mac Mintaka says:

        Rick Forschler are you serious? “In fact, it was perhaps because of his political views that Matt Shea was so well positioned to balance against the “take the money” position.”

        Let’s list some of his “political views” shall we?

        -He is a prominent voice in the fight for local authority over federal lands. Meaning these lands that belong to all of us now, would be opened up to unfettered mining, logging, and grazing by local entities with little to no care for the public. He is a supporter of Cliven Bundy who set fires on federal land and grazed his cattle without permits. Even when the permit costs are absurdly low. I realize this is a debate to be had, but Mr. Shea supports breaking the law to do it.

        -He admits on his own web site his fears of centralized federal control leading to FEMA camps being used as internment camps, and has said elsewhere that his great fear is that gun owners and patriots will fill those camps.

        -At a rally put on by the Oathkeepers (Cliven Bundy’s crowd) in Bayview ID, in 2011: “We need to prepare for the inevitable collapse that is going to happen,” said Washington state representative Matt Shea. “You know it’s going to happen.” “Shea urged the crowd to stock up on thousands of rounds of ammunition and to stay in shape, practice shooting, learn self defense and special tactics.”

        -He visited the Bundy folks in Nevada and in Oregon after the troubles in the first case and during the armed stand-off against “the man” in the second case.

        -He said at a rally at the Spokane Planned Parenthood last year: “I am glad, to see finally, they have been exposed for what they are,” Shea said of Planned Parenthood. “There is no difference between Planned Parenthood, and what Dr. Josef Mengele did in Germany in the 1940s.”

        I have no issue with him being a conservative Republican, I mean, if we didn’t work with those who disagree with us nothing would ever get done. The problem is his extremist views and the laissez fair attitude toward them by you. A minutes worth of checking would have shown him for what he is, if you didn’t know already.

    • Richard R. says:

      The “Best Qualified Person” NO! NO! NO! YOU DID NOT choose the most Qualified Person! You passed up a Professional Interim City Manager that would Help our city get out of this mess we are in. You sir made Seatac a Laughing Stock with the Process and Hiring of the CM. My opinion is we are Not off to a good start knowing it’s only been a short time as council members and the decisions you have made do not look promising for the future of this city.

    • seatac resident says:

      I totally agree 100% with Mr Mayne, the Mayor Mr Forschler is going to run the City down to the ground. Everyone smell the coffee and stop making excuses for him, have a open mind and read some fun facts and make your own decision:

      1. Big mistake new council members – you fired former Mr Cutts without giving yourselves some time to learn government process and learn the budget.

      2. Leading to the separation Mr Cutts – paying his severance package for 6 months pay around $81, 000 – $83,000. Knowing we have a budget deficit.

      3. Hired non experienced Interim City Manger – paying Mr Payne just over $12, 400 per month plus retirement and benefits. Actually this has cost the City more then what they would have paid the experienced candidate Mr Jean. Whom would have addressed the main issue here – BUDGET. Also Mr Forschler exaggerated Mr Payne’s experience and qualifications “working in a multi million restaurant industry” come on serious, he worked for WENDYS – as a manager. He did not own the restaurant. What a flipping joke.

      4. Hidden agendas – sources informed me the internal changes which are going on with staff. Majority of staff are looking for jobs because the City is not stable and the choices the new council members have made are dumb. And don’t forgot you have loyal SeaTac resident staff who are watching this circus.

      I’m a SeaTac resident for many years, my mail box is in SeaTac why was I never given the opportunity to become the Interim City Manager and earn $12, 400 per month?. My Payne has won the lottery ticket and all he needed was his mail box in SeaTac. What a joke, we have become a laughing stock among the other Cities.

      I’m worried for this City, too many poor choices in so little time. Paying for two City Manager’s in January, no one addressing the BUDGET and no one talking about hiring a qualified candidate. Next question – where are we at with the process of hiring City Manager?

  9. Wendy Leonard says:

    As a Des Moines resident I appreciated WASWD technology chair Rick Forschler speaking up on our behalf. I have had the pleasure and yes sometimes challenge of working under Rick in my position at a Sewer District. His knowledge was appreciated from this Des Moines resident. I think people are hyper focused on him being a SeaTac City Council member and not focused enough on the fact that he has extensive knowledge of the public sewer utility and it’s administration and construction. He clearly stated his affiliation with WASWD (Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts) at the beginning of his address to our council, then also stated his position with the SeaTac City Council, as he should. I know how hard this man works as a public servant. He always had the best interest of the people he had sworn to serve. This did not always make my job easy but it made my job rewarding. I served the people of this utility with attention to value, quality and safety of these citizens. I would be honored to have this man be my council member and would rest easier at night knowing his integrity lead my city. This is a man you can trust to do what is right, not always the easiest, but always in the best interest of the people he serves and always fair. Again, thank you Mr. Forschler for having my best interest and standing up on my side and weighing in on what is actually fair on the subject of an unfair utility tax.

  10. Michael T Kovacs says:

    One extremist against the other.

    This one should resign.

  11. D Tapio says:

    For as long as I can remember there has been a bias by many of those presenting in the council chambers. We heard many one-sided arguments and good questions rarely asked. Opposing points of view were not invited. Objective analysis was absent.

    We never would have had a presentation on the cost overruns of light rail and the poor performance numbers like we heard two weeks ago. We would not have heard that discussions within the leadership of King County about wanting traffic congestion to force people out of cars and improve light rail ridership or that such a small percentage of people ride light rail that it does not decrease traffic congestion.

    We would only have heard a sales pitch followed by a council recommendation advising the voters to support billions more for the project in the coming Nov. ballot.

    We didn’t hear from any of those complaining now at all of the past presentations over the years that there was a bias. And, they are now intent on attacking the messanger, not the message.

    Here’s a story from a reader I ran across recently that is worthy of sharing.


    Recently, while I was working in the flower beds in the front yard, my neighbors stopped to chat as they returned home from walking their dog.

    During our friendly conversation, I asked their little girl what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said she wanted to be President some day.

    Both of her parents were standing there, so I asked her, “If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?” She replied… “I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.” Her parents beamed with pride!

    “Wow…what a worthy goal!” I said. “But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that!” I told her. “What do you mean?” she replied.

    So I told her, “You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and trim my hedge, and I’ll pay you $50. Then you can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and housing.”

    She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?”…


    This girl has common sense and asks good questions. I fully realize that not all homeless people are able to work, but we need more people in leadership positions who ask good questions and then make informed decisions based on accurate information. People that would attack the girl for asking good questions do so at their own peril.

    I think the new mayor and council will invite opposing viewpoints, ask good questions, get accurate information and make good decisions.

    • McMickenGuy says:

      I have not heard anyone say that opposing views were bad for debate. What I am hearing is that turning down CDBG funds that literally every city in America has taken to grow community and infrastructure is shortsighted and making the point for him was an extremist who is anti-government. See the difference? I am on the same page with you:

      “I think the new mayor and council will invite opposing viewpoints, ask good questions, get accurate information and make good decisions.”

      What we are beginning to see is a set of values that does not align with a majority of people living in Seatac. Please don’t get that confused with the values of those who voted last election which had miserable low voter turnout.

  12. Holly M says:

    MAYNE’s problem indeed !: I don’t know a single conservative who supports
    muzzling leftist thought or speech, no matter how repugnant he may find
    it. Yet leftists, like washed-up investigative reporter Jack Mayne, are
    strongly supportive of various measures to suppress, even outlaw,
    conservative speech, from campus speech codes to the Fairness Doctrine to
    what happened last week at the council meeting. Mayor Forschler was
    CLEARLY just providing balance to the discussion by bringing in Rep. Shea
    to provide the counter-argument (despite the outrageous ad hominem attacks
    by Councilman Tony Anderson). Does anyone understand the term “due
    diligence” anymore? Goodness! This is what we elected these folks for!

    Liberals engage in shutting down of debate (“Call the question”
    Council-member Campbell?) behavior FAR more than conservatives. It is
    because many of them believe that their ends (which they believe are
    vastly superior) justify their means. I’ve seen it so much that I suspect
    it is inherent in leftist ideology. Well, their ends DO NOT justify their
    means. Its usually leftists just being, ‘mean,’ and generally unwilling
    to listen to other’s views. So much for their phony-baloney diversity

    The way I saw it, the Council voted FOR a park, NOT against the
    ‘strings-attached grant.’ The city probably didn’t even need Federal
    grant to get that park up and running, yet everyone erroneously conflated
    the two.

    And considering his obvious bias, the next time Jack Mayne writes a hard
    news story for you suckers to read, discount it out-of-hand as being
    essentially unbelievable and untrustworthy. His opinion pieces will fall
    on their own merit.

  13. Vicki Lockwood says:

    I think those of you who have personally attacked Mr. Mayne owe him an apology. Just because you have a different opinion doesn’t give you the right to attack his character or his competence. I may not agree with some of his points, but I appreciate his sharing his thoughts and reactions. I respect his experience and admire his wisdom … doesn’t mean we will always see things the same way and the differences doesn’t give me a license to attack his competence or relevancy. Perhaps he’s looking at the house from the street side and I’m looking at it from the back yard and we’re seeing two very different profiles of the same house. Personally I want to hear his description of the front as well as those who are looking at this same house from the other two sides of the property because it gives me a better idea of the whole house. If you choose to see life in one dimension that’s your choice ~ I like the depth of 3 dimensions!