Tough Questions: Susan Conniry

Running for: reelection, OS Position 1. Running against: Eric Noble (current councilman, Position 7).

Susan Conniry

Q. A neighbor in Southern California successfully sued you for harassment and vandalism over a property dispute? What did you learn from that? Have you had any problems in Ocean Shores?

A. Just like the first sentence of your question, this campaign has been filled with misstatements and falsehoods in an effort to defame and discredit me. That is the only problem we’ve had in Ocean Shores with respect to this nearly decade old incident.

The lawsuit was initiated by the neighbor who quite simply wanted to own our property because doing so would have been financially advantageous for him. In clandestinely passing out “information packets” to various residents of Ocean Shores, the opposition shared information they knew was incomplete. Each time I run for office, my opponents unearth this incident and continue to try to portray my husband and I as evildoers. I have stated and published the full story numerous times. The full story isn’t hidden — all the records are public and available for scrutiny. The truth is that when we appealed the judgement, the opposition sought to settle. But by then, it was too late. We’d lost our property. As a voter, I would question the motives of any candidate who intentionally holds back information.

This experience shook me to the core. For a while, it affected my fundamental beliefs, values, convictions, and notions of right and wrong. However, after much contemplation, I realized that this experience left me a changed person and a believer that our system, although imperfect, is one worth fighting for. This experience is responsible for bringing me to Ocean Shores, and for my drive to protect the rights of our citizens who may not have the strength of purpose or the financial means to fight an injustice. Elected by my peers in November 2017, I continue to work to protect those rights and to uphold my oath of office.

I have a 30-year history of volunteer work, good deeds, and acts of kindness and caring. I plan to continue to share my genuine passion for our community, to encourage citizen participation in government, and share my desire to move us forward.

Q. What are your specific plans to help the homeless and low-income with housing?

A. On September 27, 2021 Council approved ordinance 1076 of the City of Ocean Shores, Washington, amending the Ocean Shores Zoning Code by adding new sections to provide regulations for the permitting of homeless services, housing, etc.

Contrary to suggestions and innuendos, the city of Ocean Shores has no plans to build homeless shelters or provide services. If a non profit wants to do so, we now have an ordinance to regulate location and services provided.

With respect to those less fortunate and as the elected representative of the Olympic Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council, I work to help people with the services they need to remain in their homes. Whether it is a grab bar, a ramp, or transportation to their doctor, food deliveries to name a few. In an effort to prevent homelessness, I collaborate with the county agencies and nonprofits in the Harbor to help needy families find housing.

One of my goals is to help people any way I can, so they don’t end up on the streets.

Q. Your opponent presents a strong professional history of management. What professional experience do you have in managing large budgets and/or staff?

A. It’s important to understand what a Council member is and what a Council member does. And there is a lot of misinformation coming from my opponent as well as a few of the other candidates. First, Council members do not manage budgets. Council members do not manage staff. Those two activities are the purview of the Mayor and the City Administrator. The mayor proposes a budget and our finance director advises the Council.

Second, a Council member’s job is to advocate for the citizens that we represent. It is the most fundamental concept of “representation” and one that some current and potential Council members don’t seem to understand or are unwilling to acknowledge. My opponent says he has many years of management experience. If he wants to manage and make deals, he should be running for mayor, not for a seat on the Council.

That said, my professional experience includes serving as an elected member of the governing board of Lakeside Fire Protection District. (www.lakesidefire.org) Our duties as board members were different to a municipal council role. Working with my colleagues, financial director, and Fire Chief we managed a 13,000.000.00 dollar budget. I was also a member of the labor contract negotiations committee. Our staff included our firefighter/paramedics, division chiefs and administrative staff and our fire chief who the board hired and fired. Working with our Fire Chief, a representative of the firefighters Union, and our citizens, we formed the Logistical Volunteer Group. This group, of which I am most proud, continues to save the fire district and the taxpayers thousands of dollars and their work is recognized throughout Southern California. The members of the LVG’s are known as the Ambassadors of the Lakeside Fire Protection District.

In my personal career, I owned and operated two small businesses and was CEO and CFO for my non profit educational organization. Though we were certainly not a Forbes 100 company, we did write and were awarded, in partnership with the local school district, a two and a half million dollar federal grant. I managed our share of the funds, a couple of paid employees and dozens of volunteers.

For four years as a City Council member, I have made decisions in the best interest of those I serve and am satisfied that every vote was weighed and evaluated to spend taxpayers money wisely.

Yes, my opponent says he has many years of managing people. He’s proud of it. He sees his “people management” skills as solid reasons for why he should be on the Council. But as I said, overseeing daily business deals and managing people isn’t what we do as Council members.

I’m surprised that in four years, my opponent hasn’t figured that out.

All government power comes from the people. Our residents are not to be “managed.” They are to be represented. I understand this clearly. Government for the people, by the people is paramount. It works!

Q. What have you done as a council representative to be worthy of being elected?

A. Even though the mayor does not have THE PEOPLE at the top of our organizational chart, as you should be, I engage you and include you in the decision making process. It is you I serve. I am committed to you. I listen to you and my decisions on the Dias are made in an effort to ensure quality of life for all. For four years we have worked together focusing on our needs, budgeting sensibly to deliver quality city services. In addition, I have,

  • Attended every single City Council meeting, study session, and Council Retreat. Completed 101 credits of civic education. Received the AWC Advanced Municipal Leadership Certificate and the Greater Grays Harbor/Grays Harbor Leadership certificate.
  • Hosted over 200 weekly Community Voices public forums.
  • Hosted town halls on Emergency Preparedness, Housing, Legislative update and Homeless & Hunger as well as a soapbox town hall.
  • Hosted candidate meet & greets that included candidates for: Grays Harbor Commissioners, Grays Harbor Hospital commissioners, PUD Commissioners, 24th District state representatives and state senators, 6th Congressional District representatives, Insurance Commissioner, Attorney General and Governor.
  • Helped two small businesses open and get off the ground. Beach Tyme Quilts and Seaside Liquidation. Promoted them through my social media posts, shopped local and promoted established small businesses. Support and promote all local businesses and restaurants.
  • Continue to support and promote Oyhut Bay, Oyhut Bay Bistro and Oyhut market.
  • At the start of the pandemic, when masks were in short supply, I hand-made hundreds and donated them to local hotels, businesses, and citizens.
  • Hosted Grays Harbor Communications E-911 for discussion on sales tax increase.
  • City Council Liaison to Fresh Waterways, Parks Board, and Port of Grays Harbor.
  • Worked with the Chair of the Parks Board to help write and edit the updated Ocean Shores Comprehensive Park Plan.
  • Worked with Council colleagues to update the Shoreline Master Plan and the City Comprehensive Plan. Attended numerous educational seminars and focus group meetings on sea level rise and erosion control.
  • Support and promote the Coastal Interpretive Center.
  • Suggested and encouraged the Parks Board/Foundation to work collaboratively with the Ocean Shores Fresh Waterways Corporation on their kiosk project. They did.
  • Promote and support the North Beach Senior Center and the North Beach Senior Resource Center.
  • Supported the Food Bank and other non profits with promoting their fundraisers.
  • Hosted Owners and operators of local businesses and hotels for evening forums. Member of the Ocean Shores Hotel Coalition.
  • Work with Seamar’s Nurse Manager to help those in need.
  • Hosted Seamar, Nurse Practitioner Ann Allen, Grays Harbor Regional Hospital commissioners, CEO Tom Jensen, Ride to Wellness (private ambulance company) for several health care/urgent care forums at Community Voices. With citizens, attended numerous hospital commission meetings. Worked exclusively with Nurse Practitioner Ann Allen to establish her home health clinic in Shores. We found her a place where she paid no rent but unfortunately she was unable to get the necessary reimbursement funding and after two years, closed her clinic. Suggested that our fire department look into different service delivery models, including having a nurse practitioner on the rig and Paramedicine. Health care/urgent care us challenge but we will find a solution.
  • Hosted Crown Health for a special forum. They now provide home health care in Ocean Shores for those who qualify.
  • Voted to pay down our debt, addressed infrastructure needs, new projects, approved having a City Administrator, stopped roadside spraying, voted against the proposed costly Point Brown sidewalk project. Approved budget requests for police and fire, personnel and equipment.
  • Championed for the Chronic Nuisance ordinance and oversight and of lot clearing. Consistently asked for our ordinances to be enforced.
  • Approved the Ocean Shores Golf Course irrigation project.
  • Support long-term maintenance of our fresh waterways and will continue to host educational forums.
  • Appointed as the elected representative to the Olympic Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. Continue to work with Coastal Community Action Program to assist citizens facing eviction. Continue to work with the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Recently, we helped a local veteran by connecting him to CCAP to get his home repaired and black mold removed.
  • In the name of public safety, hosted the Grays Harbor County Sheriff, Chief Criminal Deputy and the “Take Back Rain Street” citizen’s group. These were the original neighborhood watch discussions.
  • Jointly organizing and expanding Neighborhood Watch.
  • Scrutinize ordinances and resolutions before voting to approve.
  • Attended annual audits and asked the audit team, as we are supposed to do as Council members, in our role as fiduciaries, to review any city public works projects/procurements that may be questionable in terms of state law and the RCW’s.
  • Asked for the finance committee meetings to be held in public, with all Council members in attendance to offer more transparency. Voted down by my colleagues.
  • Helped organize an Adopt-a-Park. The area suffered extensive damage during a storm. Access blocked. City did not repair. The group sought donations and repaired and improved access to the bay in an important area known as Bill’s Spit. Many birders use that area during the Grays Harbor Seabird Festival.
  • Traveled to Tacoma and met with U.S. Senator Patty Murray to discuss our health care needs.
  • Upheld my oath of office for each and every moment of being an elected official.
  • Asked questions. Lots of them to further understand projects or policies before voting.

As our government is structured here in Ocean Shores, all Council members are meant to represent all citizens. Yes, we represent the residents who have several homes and possessions galore as well as the elderly man residing in a barely-livable manufactured home. It must be our job to represent both, equally and fairly, because that is the principle upon which all democratic government is based.

My worthiness to hold office is deeply rooted in those principles and the public record of it is available for all to see and know. We will continue to build trust and create a culture of mutual respect that makes progress possible.

15 Comments

  1. Anonymous for fear of retaliation says:

    Great question. Many have heard the buzz about Susans’ past. And most have heard a version of the “story” directly from Susan. She loves to tell her story. But, her above answers referencing the harassment suit, raise more questions than they answer. If the neighbor wanted her property, why did he sue her for harassment and vandalism? Why didn’t she countersue to protect her property? The San Diego Court public records tell a different story altogether. These court records confirm that the unanimous jury verdict had nothing to do with the neighbor “wanting” her property. Sadly, the verdict had everything to do with a bad chronic behavior issue towards the neighbor, that occurred over a long period of time. It is understandable that when humans behave badly they try to forget and put those actions behind them. Lets face it, sometimes we embarrass ourselves and are ashamed. When Susan tells her story the details always change slightly depending on the audience but the ending is always the same… It is NEVER her fault. Perhaps instead of unfairly blaming and trying to smear her opponent, (as she stated above for this info to surface yet again), it would be better if she admitted her guilt for her actions that caused the lawsuit in the first place. Perhaps even apologize. In an era where city council and candidates are demanding transparency, to face the details of her past would serve her better than playing the victim and placing the blame on others. The people of Ocean Shores are intelligent and have good hearts. Maybe Susan should trust them with the verifiable facts and put an end to all of the “buzz” now.

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    1. Michael D says:

      What does this have to do with her today and being a great council member for our city? Of course you have lived a perfect life and there is nothing to see? No? Why are you trying to defame her? If you disagree with her policy’s you can show it at the ballot place. Funny how you make all these accusations and hide behind being anonymous.

      I appreciate everything she does for our city. She has my appreciation and vote.

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      1. Anonymous says:

        Perhaps it is a question of character. It is a trend? Can you be a CEO of a 2 person company. Are there accomplishments here? Most seem to be just show up and get your picture taken. No really management experience which seems to show. She has had her had her run and we need to do better. Vote for Noble if you want the city to grow.

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    2. hooterville hick says:

      The “buzz” will never end as long as it is dredged up to smear her; in a barely concealed “response/comment” such as above the effect is the same- smear. As to a time when council and candidates are “demanding transparency” we sure aren’t getting it from either. Why not judge both candidates on their contributions to O/S city gov’t, which is the only real job and let neighborhood squabbles and free roofing jobs fill their rightful niche?

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      1. Anonymous says:

        It’s not a smear if it is true.

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      2. Anonymous says:

        Curious as she seems to be the only one to bring it up. Most of her campaign is the Poor Susan story. Has she done anything for the city? The answer would seem to be no.

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    3. Linda says:

      You seem to have a vendetta against Susan and the fact that you are hiding yourself when doing so says much about you. Your attacks come across as personal and without honor, just shooting arrows while hiding. Very sad.

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    4. odis Lee warren says:

      why don’t you show your name and come to one of Susan’s meetings and ask her these questions

      Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is there really any question who is the best council candidate for position 1? Susan is by far the best choice. She has done so much for the citizens in Ocean Shores . Where is Eric when it comes to volunteering his time to make our community better ? He can’t make all the council meetings let alone give back to his community. Thank you Susan for putting all of us citizens first.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      You know why you don’t see Eric’s community service? Because he doesn’t publish or flaunt it. You don’t know how he volunteered by helping his neighbor reroof his house, installing someone’s stove, building a major set piece for a local youth theatre, participating in community service projects with his staff, and donating goods to local organizations because he does it humbly and without pretense or announcement. That’s what a person of character does.

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      1. Odis says:

        He doesn’t do anything for this community. He always says contact him with questions you may have but he doesn’t offer any contact information and if you email thru the city the mayor reads the emails first. No mention of accomplishments on the internet can’t be found anyplace on internet except his information on his management position in OS and he put that online himself. He not a very truthful man most people that go stealth the way noble has is hiding something bigger than he wants people to know

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    2. Anonymous says:

      “Not a smear if it’s true”? Who are you trying to kid? The court documents reflect a certain incident from a certain point of view. We will never know if the judge had a bad week, the defendants had a bad attorney or if one side was just better at lying! Ask ten witnesses to testify to an event and you will get eleven answers, each has a different perspective and value judgement as to relative importance. And one can’t make up their mind! I doubt that anyone knows the whole and clear truth; all we know is that one party prevailed in a sometimes flawed system. There are two ways to win a lawsuit; you can be right or just break the other guy. Which was this? As to repeating the story, even the greatest singers sing it a bit differently each time. What we can be sure of is that bringing old history like this up ONLY at election time is with a clear intent to harm; or “smear”. I think it is “fear of retaliation” who should just admit their true motive. I am not a particular fan of Susan or a particular detractor of Eric but I am sick and tired of elections everywhere being based on lies, smears, and money while not really looking at the candidates ability to accomplish anything. Susan answered the original question straight on; “fear of retaliation” diverted the question to reflect their own agenda!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Eric Noble gives out his phone number and email all of the time. It’s on his website. He always answers calls and asks to meet face to face. It is unfortunate that his contact info was left off of the voters guide. I guess he doesn’t make the news much. He has nothing to hide. Call him. 805/234-3928.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Susan loves to tell others how great she is at getting people together and the effort she puts into getting people to talk. Last summer in talking about her strategy, I meaner the goal to find solutions and she said you just keep talking. I believe Susan is sincere about getting people together. I think leadership has to help people find solutions and move on, not just talk. So management is a critical skill in facilitating and finding solutions. Over the last 4 years, Susan has demonstrated more curiosity than solutions. She is great at wanting to help those in need and perhaps would be better suited focusing in that.

    And how come her version of what happened in CA seems different every time she tells it

    Like

  5. Anonymous says:

    Susan Conmiry just lost my vote. After listening to her comments and then seeing those same comments in writing in the Ocean Shores Observer, she seems to have thrown shade against many Ocean Shores citizens.. Obviously from her statements she will not be representing those who live on the water in their “big houses” or “snowbird to warmer climes”. The same people that have worked hard to live here and it is no business of hers on how or why they chose to love where we live. Many of those citizens she openly disrespected support many charities in our City including the ones she utilizes such as the food bank. I guess she is finally showing her true colors and I can roudly say “I don’t want Susan” and I wish I never did.

    Like

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