Charlotte Louise (Skip) Mackner, 1952 Skykomish high school graduate and former two-term Skykomish Mayor, died Tuesday, January 14th 2014 at age 79 following a brief illness. She is survived by husband Robert ‘Bob’ and daughter Chontelle.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at Holyrood Cemetery Chapel, Shoreline, Washington.
Charlotte Mackner’s reign as mayor spanned a critical period in Skykomish history. BNSF Railway predecessor, Great Northern Railway, had severely polluted much of the ground and ground water beneath the town with diesel and bunker oils from earlier locomotive fueling operations. The pollution included Maloney Creek and the Skykomish River.
BNSF has severely polluted other towns, sites and watersheds along its lengthy route and retains an army of lawyers, lobbyists, officials and public relations professionals to deflect negative publicity, while fighting off environmental cleanup efforts.
Mayor Mackner proved no match for the BNSF Railway machine. Her love for the public limelight made her easy prey, allowing BNSF and Washington State’s Department of Ecology to bend her to their will.
Charlotte successfully promoted termination of the Town’s highly experienced environmental legal counsel, Harry Grant (even though his cost would be paid by BNSF), replacing him instead with Town Attorney David S. Carson of Everett who had no environmental experience or credentials.
Attorney Carson allowed Mackner along with Council members Henry Sladek et al to enter into an agreement with BNSF whereby the Town agreed to the Railway’s ‘preferred cleanup plan’, which turned out to be no real cleanup at all.
This agreement had an especially dark side for Mackner and Henry Sladek, as they were both convicted of State ethics law violation after it was revealed in a lawsuit by longtime local resident Rick Aydelotte that they had accepted money from BNSF in exchange for agreeing to the Railway’s ‘preferred plan’
BNSF, along with lap dog, Washington State Department of Ecology, destroyed the Town’s economy and society with six long years of phony remediation in their effort to stop discharge of pollutants into the river. The soil and ground water beneath the town remains severely polluted.
Attorney David S. Carson also allowed Mackner, Sladek et al to approve construction of a wastewater treatment facility that the town cannot afford and should not have been responsible for. This facility was needed as part of the cleanup hoax, and should have been funded by BNSF. Instead the Town’s utility ratepayers were made financially responsible, and a ‘reserve fund’ was established to help bamboozle country bumpkins in the short term by artifically keeping rates low, despite the fact that the math is simply irrefutable: Skykomish water and sewer ratepayers cannot afford the wastewater facility. This is what happens when corrupt town officials are paid off by powerful corporations.
Was Charlotte Mackner the Town’s worst mayor? That’s difficult to say because she’s competing for this title with the likes of mayors Ted Cleveland, Fred Black, Tony Grider and others. History will be the final judge.
Charlotte also proved to be a petty, vicious and vindictive mayor.
According to the Skykomish Hotel’s owner, who was a strong advocate for a real BNSF environmental cleanup, Mackner walked into the Hotel’s Great Northern Grille within days of being seated as mayor and stated point blank that she would do everything in her power to have the restaurant closed.
The mayor’s bite was felt immediately, as Town crews began ploughing the Town’s snow onto Hotel property, making it virtually impossible for occupants to use their vehicles, despite the threat to life this posed, especially in the event of an emergency.
Charlotte Mackner… You’re in God’s hands now. Rest in Peace!
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