Duties and functions

Parking con artist Edmonds College principal faces ethics fine

LYNNWOOD – State council upholds its decision to impose a $ 150 fine on the president of Edmonds College after someone complained about acting unethically by insisting last year that he ” it is exempt from certain parking rules on campus.

Amit Singh broke state law by “using his position to secure special privilege,” the state’s Executive Council on Ethics said in an order on July 27.

In February 2020, Singh told the school’s security director that he shouldn’t be ticketed if he occasionally illegally parked as he rushed to meet with potential donors for a new building. focused on science, engineering and technology.

“Yes, I asked for a special privilege. Not for me, but for my job, my job, for college, ”Singh told the council in a July 8 hearing.

The board rejected this argument.

“While it may have been Mr. Singh’s duty to attend facility tours with potential donors, in the absence of guidance from EdCC’s board of directors, it is not necessary to park anywhere on campus without fear of citation for Mr. Singh to perform his duties, ”wrote vice-chairman Gerri Davis in the order.

Singh will not have to pay the penalty if he does not break the state’s ethics law again for a year, according to the order.

He can also ask the council to reconsider or to appeal the order in Superior Court.

State law allows the council to impose a civil penalty of up to $ 5,000 per violation or “three times the economic value of anything received or sought” against the ethics law, according to the prescription.

Board chair Shirley Battan first fined Singh $ 150 for the violation last November, after Singh appeared before her in abbreviated court proceedings held over the phone.

At the time, a full board hearing was not required because the penalty did not exceed $ 500, the violation was considered minor, and the facts were considered undisputed.

But last month’s hearing was scheduled after Singh told the board at a December 7 meeting that he disagreed with some of Battan’s findings.

A complaint was filed with the board of directors on February 19, 2020, about two weeks after a campus security guard wrote Singh a ticket for $ 20 because his vehicle was parked in a student parking area. without the appropriate license.

At his request, the sanction was lifted. It is common practice to waive tickets for the first time as warnings, according to the board’s investigation.

Security Director Jade Jeter-Hill advised campus security officers not to cite Singh for parking infractions and instead contact her if the president was parked illegally.

About 10 days after his first ticket, an officer saw his vehicle block a lane of a two-lane artery on campus. The agent contacted Jeter-Hill, who advised leaving the vehicle there without a quote, according to the council’s final order.

Singh’s vehicle was parked in a lane reserved for firefighters, Jeter-Hill said. However, due to the poor signage and markings at that particular location, anyone else summoned to park there would likely have succeeded in having the summons dismissed on appeal.

Singh argued at the hearing that the location was part of the construction area for the new building, not a through road.

The president’s office is about a third of a mile from campus, Singh said. It has an assigned parking space on the south side of the campus. But when raising funds to complete the STEM building, he sometimes needed to park closer if he was late, he said.

The college offers free parking permits to faculty, staff, students and visitors, according to the council’s survey. After 2 p.m., all parking lots on campus are “open”.

The commission’s investigations generally do not name the complainants.

Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; [email protected] Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.