Richland Councilmember Phil Lemley has sold his Richland home. Lemley listed the house just a few days ago and now a sale is listed as “pending.” Lemley, 80, has not responded to the Observer’s calls asking about his future plans.

Lemley defeated Rita Mazur in 2009 and has been on the council ever since. 

The Richland City Council went live from city hall on Mar. 15, but Lemley attended those meetings remotely. He made no comments at either meeting.

In January, Lemley nominated Councilmember Ryan Lukson to serve another two-year term as mayor. After Councilmember Michael Alvarez was elected, Lemley abruptly left the Zoom meeting. 

If Lemley were to give up his seat, the council would pick a replacement to serve until the end of Lemley’s term in 2023.

Judge Swanberg still on leave

Superior Court Judge Samuel Swanberg went on leave after a court employee filed an anti-harassment petition against him. His ex-wife then alleged that there had been domestic violence during their marriage.

Records in Washington courts don’t list any cases on Swanberg’s calendar since October 14, 2021.

The Observer asked Superior Court Clerk Michael Killian in an email if there had been any more assignments since Oct.14 and whether Swanberg was still being paid. Superior Court judges make close to $200,000 a year. Killian did not respond.

Didier praises Human Resources Director he voted against

At a recent meeting Franklin County Commission Chair Clint Didier gave kudos to newly appointed Human Resources Director Eric Wyant who he voted against in January. The praise was for a presentation on salaries, according to Guest Observer Leona Hassing.  

The Observer can’t resist a football analogy. Is it like the quarterback saying the split end is his favorite receiver even though he never throws him the ball? 

Benton County auditor eliminates property search by owner

Just last year, researchers could use the Benton County on-line property search tool to find every property in the county owned by the City of Richland or anyone else, but no more. According to the auditor’s office, that feature was eliminated due to “security concerns.” Researchers can use the public record request process to obtain a list of properties by owner.