I was troubled to learn that Mr. Nicolas Duchastel was dismissed from the Woodinville Planning Commission without cause. After reviewing last Tuesday’s (June 16) Council meeting, I was further dismayed and baffled. No legitimate reason was given for Mr. Duchastel’s removal, and instead the only “reasons” given were vague, unsubstantiated insinuations of bad behavior. Councilmember Price, who brought the unannounced motion against Mr. Duchastel, complained, for example, that Mr. Duchastel had “said some stuff that was offensive” but also said that he was “not going to get into specifics.” Councilmember Taylor said Mr. Duchastel had used “interesting language” and Deputy Mayor Harris announced he would provide specific examples but then struggled to provide any legitimate complaint and instead explained that Mr. Duchastel had used an “aggressive” tone when asking him—an elected public servant—a question. Council’s apparent discomfort with freedom of speech and accountability should be truly concerning to every resident in Woodinville. The fact that Mr. Duchastel was removed for no other reason than asking legitimate questions of city officials about the workings of Woodinville government—questions that apparently caused significant discomfort or irritation to those being asked—is simply inexcusable. Don’t you, councilmembers, represent the people of Woodinville? Isn’t your job to respond to citizens, even when they are asking difficult questions? Instead you have worked to silence critics, reduce engagement, and weaken Woodinville. This is utterly shameful behavior and should not be tolerated in Woodinville—especially from our elected officials. Worst still you never gave Mr. Duchastel even the common courtesy of informing him that you had targeted him for removal, nor did you give him the opportunity to defend his good name. Instead you hurled vile and dubious accusations against him and removed him without any opportunity to learn the truth, or hear support for him, or have him answer your unfounded accusations.
I first met Mr. Duchastel when I served on the Parks and Recreation Commission and have found Mr. Duchastel to be a thoughtful, hard-working, and highly ethical. For several years he has faithfully and effectively served this community, and I am very disappointed to see him treated so unfairly.
As councilmembers your sole responsibility is to represent the people of Woodinville and to serve the entire city. Your decision to remove Mr. Duchastel is a failure of your responsibility. Public servants should exercise good judgement, reasoned thought, and sound ethical behavior. Unfortunately, with the removal of Commissioner Duchastel, you have fallen quite short of that measure and have shown yourselves to be vindictive and petty. You have demonstrated quite clearly your ethical deficiencies, want of judgement, and lack of integrity. I hope you will reflect on your actions and motives. And I hope you will find a way to right this wrong.