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News-Times Whidbey


New coach pitches new challenges A9


Burglary victims up in arms over lack of arrests

Hospital audit reveals payroll problems By NATHAN WHALEN Staff reporter

on Feb. 11 with unlawful imprisonment and witness tampering. The instances are charged as domestic-violence-related crimes. Police allege that Gowdey, 44, got into a fight in 2007 with his then-girlfriend and handcuffed her on the side of a road; he also allegedly later coached her to not to tell investigators about the handcuffing incident, according to the police report.

Several employees at Whidbey General Hospital are seeing some smaller paychecks as a result of a problem in a new payroll system. In a report released Feb. 18, state auditors reported hospital officials did not have adequate controls over payroll to safeguard public resources. The result of that condition caused the hospital to make $183,000 worth of overpayments to employees, the report said. Whidbey General Hospital is busy recouping the money by deducting from the affected employees’ paychecks as allowed by state law, spokeswoman Trish Rose said in an email. “The audit did not find or allege deliberate wrongdoing on the part of any WGH employee or manager,” Rose said. The Washington State Auditor’s Office conducts an annual audit of the hospital. The current audit covered Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2012. Whidbey General Hospital employs approximately 700 people and has revenue expenditures of $48.9 million. The hospital district also has five collective bargaining agreements in place. Officials installed a new electronic payroll system in 2011. The payroll system cost approximately $45,000. Hourly employees are paid based



By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Omer Lupien was one of about 40 burglary victims to show up at a special meeting with law enforcement officials Thursday night. Lupien said he and a friend had $12,000 worth of tools stolen last Halloween while they were putting up a pole building on Zylstra Road on North Whidbey. Like several others at the meeting at the Coupeville Rec Hall, Lupien expressed frustration at the response he received from the Island County Sheriff’s Office. He and his friend started knocking on doors and found eight other burglary victims in the area; they even found suspects, but nobody was ever arrested. “We never got a straight answer,” he said, referring to law enforcement. “We never even got a call back.” Sheriff Mark Brown and other law enforcement officials from Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley tried to address the concerns, pointing out the difficulties in investigating certain types of crimes, the legal restrictions on police and the limitations SEE UP IN ARMS, A4

Photo by Justin Burnett/Whidbey News Times

North Whidbey resident Omer Lupien is one of about 40 burglary victims to attend a special meeting with law enforcement Thursday night. He expressed frustration with police response.

Snohomish sheriff takes Gowdey investigation By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter


An investigation into a Coupeville deputy marshal has been turned over to a detective with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, according to Oak Harbor Police Chief Ed Green. Hodges Gowdey, a 13-year veteran of the Coupeville Town Marshal’s Office, was charged in Island County Superior Court

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Whidbey News-Times, February 22, 2014  

February 22, 2014 edition of the Whidbey News-Times

Whidbey News-Times, February 22, 2014  

February 22, 2014 edition of the Whidbey News-Times