Planning Commission member resigns from her post

City council voted to dismiss code of ethics violation complaint.

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Eleven days after the Mercer Island City Council voted to dismiss her code of ethics violation complaint, Planning Commission member Lucia Pirzio-Biroli resigned from her post.

The Aug. 3, 2020, complaint was for city land work that she was privately hired to perform, and council voted 4-3 for dismissal at its Jan. 19 meeting. In an earlier hearing, the city’s ethics hearing examiner recommended that the council dismiss the complaint without penalties.

Pirzio-Biroli sent the following statement to the Reporter on Feb. 3:

“I resigned not because I’m conceding, as I did nothing wrong which was borne out through the process, but because I felt my situation had become a distraction. I love doing the work on the Planning Commission and hold my fellow commissioners and City staff in high esteem. There is, however, important work to be done and it is important that it move forward unimpeded. As I said in my letter of resignation this was an exercise in intimidation and I fear that it is a tactic that will interfere with the future work of good and civil governance.”

On Jan. 30, Pirzio-Biroli sent her resignation letter to the city council, city attorney, city manager, chair of the Planning Commission and her attorney.

Pirzio-Biroli was one of five planning commissioners who serve along with a chair and a vice chair. Her term began on June 6, 2016, and was scheduled to run through May 31, 2024, according to the city website.

The Mercer Island Planning Commission was established in 1960 as an advisory board to the city council, and its role is to advise council on growth-management issues, land-use polices and development regulations, the site reads. The commission is staffed by the Community Planning & Development Department and council appoints commissioners to four-year terms.

The Planning Commission’s next video meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 17 and can be viewed on Zoom at tinyurl.com/dkjefra5. The meeting will be recorded and uploaded to the city council’s YouTube Channel within approximately 24-28 hours. Visit: https://www.youtube.com/c/mercerislandcouncil.

(The Reporter reached out to the city for a comment, but didn’t receive one at post time.)


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