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Gloves are off as Alderwood Water District race at boiling point

LYNNWOOD, Wash., October 23, 2023—As general elections approach, Mike Pivec, former Alderwood Water & Wastewater District employee now running for Commissioner Position 3, is alleging incumbent Jack Broyles Jr. is actually a resident of Alaska. However, the Snohomish County Auditor’s office has dismissed these claims citing a lack of evidence.

The decision came at a hearing on September 5, signed by Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell.

In Snohomish County, Commissioners must have been residents of the county for at least two years, may not be county employees or public officials, and no more than two can be from the same political party.

On August 15, 2023, Pivec filed a Washington State Voter Registration Challenge form to the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office claiming his opponent does not reside at the address listed on his registration form – a residence in Bothell – pursuant of chapter 29A.08 RCW. He did not provide an alternative address where he believed Broyles was actually living.

Broyles has been a registered voter in Washington State since 1991 and informed the Lynnwood Times he is not registered to vote in any other state. In order to register to vote in the state of Washington a voter must provide their actual physical residence on their voter registration form. Knowingly providing false information on this form is considered a Class C felony (RCW 29A.08.210).

Pivec argued that Broyles’ remote participation in Alderwood Water and Wastewater District meetings, of which he serves as an elected Commissioner, coupled with his current full-time employment status as Finance Director for Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility, is sufficient enough to believe Broyles is actually working and living in Alaska a majority of the time – something that would disqualify him from his current position in office.

Broyles does in fact work full-time in Anchorage, which he says he has never denied nor kept a secret. He informed the Lynnwood Times his time spent in Washington, compared to Alaska, can vary from “fifty-fifty, to eighty-twenty.” He said he’s in Washington at least half of the time.

Alderwood Water District
Jack Broyles, Jr.

“It really doesn’t matter where I am, I can perform my duties as a commissioner wherever I am at,” Broyles told the Lynnwood Times. “Thanks to technological advances since the pandemic, online collaboration is now the rule, not the exception.  I have zero unexcused absences since I accepted my new role as CFO of the Anchorage Water & Wastewater District.”

While Broyles tunes in to Alderwood Water District meetings remotely, a majority of the time he works in-house in Alaska, he continued.

Despite his position in Alaska, Broyles says he lives in Bothell with his family and his dog Abel. According to real estate sales records, the residence Broyles submitted on his voter registration forms is titled under his fiancé’s name. Both Broyles and his fiancé testified, under oath, that Broyles lives at the Bothell residence at the hearing on September 5.

Broyles compared his traveling to Alaska for work to truck drivers, airliners, and onboard fishing vessels who all work out of state on a regular basis. He added that Pivec’s challenge is an attempt to “disenfranchise” out-of-state workers like these and himself, calling him a “disgruntled former employee” who left the Water District under “questionable circumstances.”

Pivec formally worked as the head of Alderwood Water and Wastewater District’s Department of Administrative Services for 12 years.

But Pivec isn’t the only former employee to leave a Water District position under “questionable circumstances,” Broyles told the Lynnwood Times. Prior to accepting his position in Anchorage in March of 2023, Broyles worked as a Finance Director for the Woodinville Water District for 11 years. Broyles informed the Lynnwood Times he left this position for his position in Alaska because it was “time for new challenges in [his] professional career.” Both jobs pay around $131 thousand a year.

“I needed to serve a much larger organization.  My current position has me learning and growing professionally again at an organization that is five times larger than Woodinville,” said Broyles.

Why Broyles would leave a position in Washington — where he could keep a keener eye on local water and wastewater issues as Commissioner — for a similar position in Alaska, with similar pay, is one of the reasons Pivec is still skeptical Broyles may not be telling the whole story despite the Auditor’s decision.

Alderwood Water District
Mike Pivec

“It’s pretty evident that he’s living up there because there’s been about 30 meetings since he’s been up there, but he’s only attended, in-person, about a handful of them,” Pivec told the Lynnwood Times. “He claims he’s living in the area; everything points to the fact that he’s full-time up in Alaska as their Finance Director.”

The board passed a resolution on August 7 that lifts the restriction of how many meetings a member can attend virtually, which Pivec believes was meant to cover for Broyles, and other board members who may be living out of state. Pivec has attended the last 11 Water District meetings and informed the Lynnwood Times Broyles has only attended one of those meetings in person. That meeting fell on August 7, which coincided with the vote.

“The key thing is there aren’t any specific residency requirements that Snohomish County has,” said Pivec. “Basically, this guy could be elected, move out of the area, remote into the meetings and there’s really nothing they could do about it.”

A flight from Anchorage to Seattle takes roughly 3 and a half hours. There’s approximately 2,260 miles between the two cities.

Pivec has relentlessly been trying to prove Broyle’s residence in Alaska for months to no avail. Public records requests for attendance records and tracing an alleged address have all proved futile. Still, he says the issue is with the county’s lack of tracking a voter’s residence and Broyles taking advantage of this “loophole.”

Broyles won the primary 64.7% to Pivec’s 21.7%. The remaining 13.4% went to Alan Rubio who has now supporting Pivec.

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