Poulsbo Activist Quits State Post After Investigation, Says He Was Targeted Because He’s GaySeptember 11th, 2008 by Steven Gardner
The Olympian has a report on the resignation of Poulsbo human rights activist Jerry Hebert from the state’s Human Rights Commission. He resigned after an investigation showed he spent $4,764 on a state-issued credit card. Of that, an audit determined $939 was reimbursable and a proper use of the card. The auditors reported that Hebert exceeded credit limits and didn’t make payments on time.
Hebert, who disputed the findings, also was found to use rental cars without first clearing it with the commission’s chairman, under terms of a 2006 policy. The auditors’ 13-page report also says he had multiple vehicles checked out the same day, and that he was unwilling to meet a second time with auditors to explain.
“I just think the totality of the whistleblower report was such that it was the right thing to do,” said Marty Brown, Gregoire’s legislative director, who asked Hebert to step down and received his resignation Aug. 6.
“The entire investigation was slanted …” Hebert said, adding: “All the expenditures on my credit card were paid out of my own pocket, and I did not ask for reimbursement.”
He told auditors he spent close to $7,000 on food and other focus-group expenses, “which he considered a ‘charitable donation’ ” to the state that furthered the commission’s work.
Hebert said no taxpayer dollars were spent improperly and also claimed he did not know the rules for credit-card use.
Hebert also contended that he was targeted because he is an openly gay member of the five-person commission.