In a “hot mic” moment, after the April 12th Sequim City Council meeting adjourned, a woman who appeared to be in the room with Mike Pence, said, “That Karen Hogan, everybody knows what a cunt she is, and she has to be the first . . . “. Mike Pence interjected, “First word out of her mouth . . .”. The woman continued, “Every week . . .” At that point the feed was cut off.
I had not planned on speaking publicly about this “hot mic” moment. But news media have approached me. One asked if I wanted an apology. After contemplating that question, I decided I should make this public statement:
The time for an apology has passed. I want Mr. Pence and Mr. Armacost to resign.
I’m less concerned with the obscenity of the language and their opinion of me than I am with the irresponsible, mendacious, and abusive behavior Mr. Pence has exhibited. I am also concerned with Mayor Armacost’s mendacity and authoritarian approach to presiding over the council meetings, which I also consider abusive behavior.
In an opening statement Mayor Armacost characterized those who are concerned about the behavior of council members as “rabid” and their comments as “venomous.” His claim to victimization was that some members of the public allege that he supports QAnon despite his denials. Yet on the August 27, 2020’s Coffee with the Mayor he promoted QAnon, calling it a truth movement, and encouraged listeners to view the video “Q – a Plan to Save the World.” Is he quibbling with semantics—support vs promotion?
Mr. Pence’s application, Mr. Armacost stated, was accurate but confusing in his description of the evolution of the Department of Public Works in the city of Liberty, Missouri. Yet Mr. Pence admitted to fabricating his resume in his March 26th interview on KONP with Pepper Fisher: “It could be looked as misleading. I put down my highest qualifications for that time period. Now, it wouldn’t make any difference that I went from director of whatever to street sweeper. Why would you list street sweeper? That’s how I look at it, that, you know, what’s that going to do for you in life?”
From 1988 to 1994, Mr. Pence held the Position of Director of Utilities and Maintenance in Liberty, Missouri. In 1993, Liberty’s City Administrator, Gary Jackson, asked City Engineer, Steve Hansen to review the operations of both engineering and the street and utilities department and propose a plan that would improve the services provided to the community.
Mr. Jackson liked the plan, and the Department of Public Works was created in January 1994. With the consent of the City Council, Mr. Jackson appointed Mr. Hansen to be Liberty Missouri’s first Director of Public Works. Mr. Pence’s role was reduced from a department director to a division manager overseeing streets and utilities. After a performance review in November of that year, his role was further reduced to crew leader/street maintenance. In that role he supervised street maintenance.
It is simply untrue that Mr. Pence was ever Liberty, Missouri’s Director of Public Works, let alone for 21 years.
Mr. Armacost’s April 12th opening statement and motion to move Public Comments to the end of the evening because he anticipated concerned citizens would comment on the matter of Mr. Pence’s falsified résumé were antithetical to transparent government where public servants must be accountable to the people. Four of the seven council members voted to move public comment to the end of the meeting, obviously aware that Mr. Pence’s fabricated resume would be a key topic, and hopeful that the people wouldn’t be able to sit through the rest of the meeting.
Mr. Armacost and Mr. Larkin stated that they were taking that action because Public Comments distract from conducting city business. When have Public Comments distracted from conducting city business? Hopefully the city’s business includes knowing the truth about what appointed city councilmembers put on their applications. Coincidental timing to have the public get in the way, to be sure.
This city council is out of control. The way in which Mr. Larkin was appointed in October 2020 went against precedent, with the mayor stepping down as mayor to nominate Larkin, immediately stepping back up to move for his appointment, then calling for the question without discussion. No other nomination could be made, though there were several women who were arguably more qualified.
The payoff for Larkin’s appointment came in January when his was the 4th vote needed to oust Charlie Bush as city manager. We still don’t know why this faction made that decision. And now the faction is pushing to fill the city manager position before the election, even though we have heard no complaints about the interim manager.
Mr. Pence has had time to apologize for his mendacity. He has not. Instead, he alleged that Marsha Maguire and I didn’t like anything about Sequim. His solution was we should move. He threatened legal action claiming we defamed him by revealing the truth. And now he and whoever was in his home with him on Monday April 12th claimed that “everybody” agrees with their opinion of me, an opinion that used graphic language generally considered obscene. As of April 16th, he has expressed no regret for that hot mic moment.
Mr. Armacost blatantly lied at the beginning of the evening regarding his support of QAnon. Or, if he wasn’t lying, he is confused about what he said on August 27th, 2020. He does not seem to get his story straight. Either way, it is not what we expect of an elected official.
Mr. Pence’s and Mr. Armacost’s bullying and mendacious behavior flies in the face of the words they recite in the Pledge of Allegiance, “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
It is time they both resign. Their behavior is polarizing and sets a bad example to the youth of our community. Moreover, it creates chaos, interferes with efficient city operations and sound fiscal management, and damages the reputation of Sequim.
My only apology is that I’m sorry they haven’t resigned sooner.