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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

February 13, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Senate releases reports on state Sen. Pam Roach

OLYMPIA — The Republican-led majority in the state Senate released two documents Wednesday detailing allegations that state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, violated workplace policies last year by verbally abusing staff.

The Seattle Times requested the documents a month ago through public records requests. The Senate released a December draft investigation and a final report written in January that looked at various allegations against Roach.

Both reports said she violated Senate workplace policy in one instance when she complained to a Senate staffer who was trying to uphold restrictions — since removed — that prevented her access to staff. Roach has disputed the allegations.

The January report’s only recommendation was that “the Senate’s Respectful Workplace Policy should be updated and clarified.”

The Senate Facilities and Operations Committee, which oversees staff for the chamber, voted Tuesday night to close the investigation and said no further action was warranted.

The panel last month voted to remove past sanctions, dating back to 2010, that had barred Roach from having direct contact with Senate staff.

Roach was sanctioned in 2010 after an internal investigation found she had created a hostile work environment by berating a Senate attorney, Mike Hoover. Her caucus sent her a letter noting she’d violated Senate workplace policy “on numerous occasions” dating to 1998.

As a result of the investigation, Roach was banned from the Republican caucus and barred from direct contact with staff and counsel. Roach disputed those allegations as well.

The caucus first softened its position on Roach last year when Republicans took control of the Senate budget, with the help of three conservative Democrats. Roach was allowed back into the caucus shortly before that happened.

Then when Republicans took control of the Senate this year, the Facilities and Operations Committee removed all remaining sanctions. The GOP gained power with the votes of 23 Republicans – including Roach – and Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch.

Asked recently if she would have dropped out of the Republican-led coalition if the sanctions weren’t lifted, Roach said, “When everyone is the 25th vote, everyone needs to be satisfied.”

Comments | More in Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: Mike Hoover, sanctions, Sen. Pam Roach


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