Ombudsman Finds That N.P. Councilmember Didn’t Violate Ethics Code


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The King County Ombudsman’s Office this week released findings in an investigation that examined whether Doug Osterman, a King County employee, used his county position to favor the City of Normandy Park, where he also serves as a city councilmember.

“After conducting a thorough, independent investigation, the Ombudsman’s Office found no reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Osterman violated the county’s Employee Code of Ethics,” according to an announcement.

The complaint received by the Ombudsman alleged that Mr. Osterman influenced the Watershed Resource Inventory Area Forum (WRIA-9) for which he served as lead staff, to undertake Beaconsfield on the Sound, a waterfront restoration project located in Normandy Park. Additionally, the complaint alleged that Mr. Osterman did not provide sufficient notice of his potential conflict of interest.

The results of the Ombudsman’s investigation were findings that:

  • Mr. Osterman’s service to Normandy Park is not incompatible with the proper discharge of his official duties as a county employee.
  • Mr. Osterman’s role as a Normandy Park councilmember would not likely impair him in the performance of his duties as a county employee.
  • Mr. Osterman gave proper notice to his county supervisor about the potential conflict of interest.

The Ombudsman’s Office resolves citizen complaints concerning King County government agencies through direct assistance. It also investigates alleged violations of the Employee Code of Ethics and Lobbyist Disclosure Code, and reports of improper governmental action and retaliation filed under the Whistleblower Protection Code.

The full Ombudsman’s report can be downloaded here (PDF file).

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