OPINION: Mike Martin Must Tell The Truth Or Resign
An Editorial by Jim Branson
At Mondayâ€™s City Council meeting, several prominent Burien citizens spoke up for City Manager Mike Martin, saying he has done a good job and he deserves another chance. They said he shouldnâ€™t be judged before the facts were known.
Former Council Member Jack Block Jr. said he (Block) had the disease of alcoholism, he had sought treatment for it, and it did not stop him from being a contributing member of society as long as he took the right steps.
One difference between Mr. Block and Mr. Martin is the admission of having a problem.
The Seattle Times reports:
â€œMartin’s breath strongly smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred and he said he had consumed a couple of glasses of wine and two beers, a deputy wrote in a report.â€
That is something that needs explaining. If Mr. Martin wants to protect himself from paying the legal consequences for his actions, he was smart to refuse the sobriety test and the breathalyzer. If Mr. Martin is serious about serving the City of Burien, he could have, while he had the microphone at Mondayâ€™s meeting, said he was sorry. He could have given a minimal explanation of what led up to the accident. If he shouldnâ€™t be judged before the facts are known, then why doesnâ€™t he tell us the facts? At a minimum, if he couldnâ€™t discuss the matter for legal reasons, he could have apologized to the Council and to the City for putting Burien citizens at risk, whatever the reason or circumstances. He could have outlined his plan to make sure nothing like that ever happened again.
Ideally, he could have offered his resignation and let the Council decide whether they would accept it at that point or discuss it further.
Instead, he went on with his report as if his DUI arrest werenâ€™t the burning issue on everyoneâ€™s mind. Yes, the City does have many other important matters to discuss, but first we need to know if the person we rely on most for our public safety and fiscal well-being is someone we can really trust.
It is not only in the Cityâ€™s best interests for Mr. Martin to explain himself; it is ultimately in his best interests. If he has a drinking problem, he needs to seek treatment before he kills himself or someone else. If he hopes to have a future in Burien, where he has purchased a home, he needs to resolve this quickly and openly. If he hopes to ever have another meaningful job after leaving this one, it would be in his best interests to address the matter directly, without equivocation.
The City Council tip-toed around the issue, adjourning to executive session to discuss â€œa personnel issue,â€ as if everyone didnâ€™t already know they were going to talk about Mr. Martinâ€™s DUI. What do they need to discuss in private that they couldnâ€™t discuss in public? A negotiation or a settlement? How to spin this incident for the least damage to Burienâ€™s image? The way to handle it with the least damage for all would be to discuss it openly and honestly. Although Mr. Martin has passed up many opportunities to speak, he can, at any time, explain to the Citizens of Burien what exactly happened and why he should or should not continue as Burienâ€™s City Manager. The longer he waits, the more he and the City Council discuss how to deal with the situation instead of actually dealing with it, the more it looks like he, and they, have something to hide.
The way to deal with the Mr. Martinâ€™s accident is to tell the truth. He doesnâ€™t need a lawyer for that.
If he canâ€™t tell us the truth, he has no business being our City Manager.
So, what do YOU think Mike Martin should do? Please answer our poll:
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Branson is a longtime area resident and outspoken activist. Previously, he wrote an editorial on “Earth Hour” that received quite a few Comments from Readers.
What do you think of his opinion on Mike Martin? Please Comment below.
Also if you have an opinion about a local issue, or a “Letter to the Editor” you’d like us to post, please email us.]