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UPDATE: Did KCLS Wrongly Use Public Funds To Mail July 2 Letter?

Read the letter (in PDF format, below), then vote in our poll and share your thoughts in our comment section.

UPDATE: Did KCLS Wrongly Use Public Funds To Mail July 2 Letter? UPDATE: Did KCLS Wrongly Use Public Funds To Mail July 2 Letter?

Update, 7/11/2012

King County Library System Spokesperson Julie Brand confirmed that the agency printed 43,000 letters at a cost of about $3,000. Mail prep and postage costs came to about $7,000.

"Our cost for printing and mailing the letter came to about an even $10,000," she said by phone on Wednesday morning.

Currently Beedon's complaint is the only one on file with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) regarding the KCLS July 2 mailing, said PDC Spokesperson Lori Anderson.

PDC records show that only one other complaint was filed against KCLS back in 2004 by Will Knedlik of Kirkland, who "alleged that officials of KCLS produced and distributed publications that contained misstatements about Proposition #1 to misinform voters, and that KCLS officials misused public assets, facilities and personnel to promote Proposition #1."

Knedlik's complaint was ultimately dismissed in March 2005.

Beedon's complaint is still in the vetting process, Anderson said.

"Staff haven't decided to log it yet," she said, adding that the review process will take about a week.

Patch will update this story as soon as more information become available.

Original Post, 7/10/2012

A letter sent to Renton residents last week resulted in a complaint filed with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.

Renton resident Renate Beedon filed the complaint against King County Library System (KCLS) Director Bill Ptacek for wrongful use of public funds.

In her complaint, she states that Ptacek, “Used Public funds to mail a letter to the citizens of Renton advising them to vote for his choice of library location in the City of Renton.”

But Ptacek says he did no such thing.

“We gave the information that we have (regarding the history of the library issue and the upcoming vote),” he said. “As a library, that is what we are supposed to do.”

The KCLS board voted to send the letter based on feedback from its legal council, Ptacek said.

“There really isn’t anything to complain about,” he said.

The number listed at the bottom of the letter, dated July 2 went to the KCLS general answer line. 

KCLS answer line operator Barbra Barkus said she’s fielded plenty of calls regarding the letter. So much so, she had a copy of it in front of her.

“We’ve been getting lots of questions,” she said.

When asked if KCLS had received many inquiries about the mailing, Ptacek answered with, “Not really.”

Patch asked about the number of letters mailed and cost of printing and postage, but KCLS spokesperon Julie Brand had left for the day, Ptacek said. He did not have the information on hand, but offered to forward our request to Brand. Patch will update this article after KCLS provides the figures.

Did you receive the letter? If not, or if it went straight to the circular file, click on the PDF file to the right, give it a read and tell us what you think.

Click here to read past articles and letters to the editor about the downtown Renton Library.

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