I am and have been a dedicated and honest public servant in the service of the Town of Cannon Beach as the Town Manager of Public Works. I do it ethically and responsibly. Unfortunately, I have been repeatedly targeted and harassed by Mr. Morris because of a personal disagreement he had with mutual friends in which I refused to become involved. As a result, Mr. Morris seems to have waged a personal vendetta against me. He was seen following my car, was recently spotted taking pictures of my private residence and attempted to contact my 90 year old mother with dementia living in an assisted living facility on site. Mr. Morris now seeks to embarrass me publicly by filing small complaints with the State Ethics Commission regarding my work as the city’s director of public works.
The complaints he filed relate to two alleged violations: 1) My actions during the pandemic in which my boss asked me to contact the City’s only local sign designer and manufacturer (Cannon Beach Design Company, which is operated by my husband and of which I am a co-owner) and ask if the Company could quickly design and install signs related to the pandemic in preparation for the closure of the town; and 2) My supervision of the cleaning of the public works yard about 3 years ago, during which I followed city policy and called state parks and local contractors to offer them poles of Excess municipal fencing damaged by water before placing the posts in the landfill.
In the first case, the discussion of the State Ethics Commission hearing suggested that my actions may constitute a minor violation: on the day I was asked to contact the company, the Commission seemed to think that I should have provided my boss with a written notice regarding my Cannon Beach Design Company property. The Commission seems to have relied on this, despite the fact that in the past I have repeatedly verbally told my boss and the entire department my link with the Company and despite the fact that the City, in order to ‘avoid a conflict of interest, had already created a purchasing system that did not allow me to authorize purchases from the Company. Again, the Board found no basis for Mr. Morris’ claims except that it felt that I should have declared the potential conflict in writing as well as orally. The final document of this hearing will be signed at the next Commission hearing on July 23. The second complaint was heard on Friday, June 11, 2021 and all requests were dismissed.
Despite a full and thorough investigation by the OEC into both matters, Mr. Morris continues to harass and harass me both at home and in my workplace. He has disrupted city council meetings and continues to spread false allegations in the city as well as use the media to spread the allegations as far as possible. He also started an online petition on Changer.org be removed from my post of director of public works.
Despite this harassment, I remain committed to serving the Town of Cannon Beach in the most ethical and responsible manner possible.
-Karen La Bonte, Canon Beach