KAPP TV Frank Sweet
Small-town government can be entertaining as hell - and, no, I'm not just talking about watching Parks and Recreation. As residents in Selah (near Yakima) were reminded today, unexpected drama can engulf a city with a population just over 7,000 in no time at all. And thanks to the allegations facing former Selah City Supervisor Frank Sweet, that's just what has happened.
KAPP TV Frank Sweet
As the Yakima Herald-Republic reports:
According to an arrest affidavit, Selah police allege Sweet systematically deleted or moved public records belonging to the city of Selah during his last week as city supervisor, a position he held for nearly 20 years until he was forced out in January by new Mayor John Gawlik.
Sweet was apparently arrested Monday night after a search of his home in the Yakima area allegedly turned up a Toshiba laptop computer and external hard drive that belonged to the city and which Sweet allegedly claimed had disappeared from his office in December, shortly after Gawlik defeated longtime Selah mayor Bob Jones.
Yakima County Jail records show Sweet was booked sometime overnight on suspicion of second- and third-degree theft, second- and third-degree possession of stolen property and a felony charge called "injury to and misappropriation of record."
While it might have been tempting for officials in Sunnyside to quickly rescind their job offer to Sweet, it appears a more thoughtful, pragmatic approach is being taken in what obviously has the potential to be a very embarrassing situation.
From the Yakima Herald-Republic:
Sunnyside elected officials learned the news Tuesday morning from acting Police Chief Phil Schenk and expressed surprise but withheld judgment.
"I'm sure Frank is going to have a version," said Mayor Mike Farmer.
Farmer said he will work with the City Council and city attorneys to conduct their own investigation. In the meantime, the Council will likely call a special meeting in the next day or two to name an acting city manager, he said.
Also according to the Yakima Herald-Republic, upon his arrest Sweet denied destroying city records but did cop to the fact he'd deleted "some" emails and transferred "some" of the emails to his thumb drive. Detective Rich Brumley tells the paper: "numerous piles of what appeared to be official City of Selah public records and site plans" were located at Sweet's residence, in addition to two external thumb drives.