Correction: An earlier version had incorrect school board meeting dates.

Franklin County department heads jumping ship

Two department heads in Franklin County have resigned from their positions, amid the tension at the commissioners’ meetings.

Human Resources Director Carlee Nave and Public Works Director Matt Mahoney have given notice and will leave at the end of the year. Recruitment for the positions will start soon, according to county officials.

Nave and Mahoney have decades of experience between them.

Commissioner Brad Peck said at the December 14 meeting, “We seem to have a line forming of people, some of the best and key, exiting Franklin County. That’s unfortunate. We need to find out why.”

A certificate of appreciation was given to Carlee at one meeting. Mahoney also had a certificate made out to him, but he wasn’t at the meeting.

Fortify Holdings scores by donating furnishings to Habitat for Humanity

In addition to earning public goodwill and a tax deduction, Fortify Holdings’ donation to the local Habitat for Humanity organization of furnishings from the hotels they are converting to micro-apartments could not have gone unnoticed by incoming Richland City Councilmember Theresa Richardson. 

Richardson, a past executive director of Habitat, could be voting on whether the company can buy the land under the Riverfront Hotel. Her son, Jet Richardson, is Habitat’s current director.

The Tri-Cities organization is not the only one to benefit from a Fortify donation. According to Executive Director Michelle Girardot of Habitat for Humanity–Spokane, Fortify donated their Spokane hotel furnishings to Habitat there.

Richland School Board has paralysis by analysis

At the Dec. 14 meeting, the Richland School Board told concerned parents that it was still developing a process and a policy for recording school board meetings. Meanwhile, Pasco and Kennewick are posting videos of their past school board meetings.

Just in time for Christmas, Kennewick City Council studies procedure for throwing unsheltered people off public property

At their Dec. 14 workshop, the Kennewick City Council heard a plan for removing campers from public property. Not to be too scroogie at Christmas time, the plan includes exemptions for people “actively engaged in the process of exiting homelessness” and for periods when there may be no shelter beds available. 

Juneteenth to replace Christmas Eve as a PNNL paid holiday in 2022

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has reorganized its holiday calendar for next year to include Juneteenth which President Biden made a national holiday on June 27. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of Black slaves. Employees will have the same number of paid holidays but one of them will be Juneteenth instead of Christmas Eve. 

Richland not producing enough yard waste

Last week, garbage and yard waste all went in the same truck instead of being taken by separate trucks. 

“Each year we stop running separate trucks to service the green cans when the percentage of green containers set out dips below 25%,” City Manager Jon Amundson explained. “This is done to save the truck operating costs when there isn’t much yard waste to recover. You can be assured that we are committed to maintaining our collection program’s integrity and cost-effective operations. The separate green waste collection supplies the necessary materials to support a robust composting operation and keeps that material out of the landfill.”

Badger Mt. South residents are angry over proposed switcheroo

Badger Mountain South resident Heather Nicholson is circulating a petition to her neighbors and others trying to stop developer Nor Am, from switching zoning for promised open space, parks and commercial space into yet more houses. 

Single family homes on Badger sit on about  0.2-acre lots. The developer promised parks and commercial development nearby in exchange for the density.

Richland City Council recently denied another developer, Hayden Homes, a request for zoning change from commercial to residential at Center Parkway and Steptoe. At the council’s Dec. 7 meeting, Councilmember Marianne Boring was adamant that the plan for the area should not lose nearby commercial development that residents could walk to. 

If houses were built on it, she noted, there would be no turning back.