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Hyer will quit council

Olympia City councilman Joe Hyer has pleaded not guilty in Thurston County Superior Court to three drug felonies.  (Olympian File Photo)
Olympia City councilman Joe Hyer has pleaded not guilty in Thurston County Superior Court to three drug felonies. (Olympian File Photo) The Olympian

Joe Hyer plans to resign from the Olympia City Council effective 11:59 p.m. today, he confirmed late Friday.

The group People for Joe Hyer announced the news in a release sent to The Olympian at 6:33 p.m. Friday.

Hyer, who faces three felony drug-related charges, didn’t comment further. His campaign manager, Danielle Westbrook, also declined to comment.

Olympia City Councilwoman Karen Rogers said she learned of Hyer’s resignation about 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Rogers said she is focused on city business and is ready to move forward.

“Now we need to find someone who can replace Joe,” she said. “I hope we are going to have a lot of good applicants and hope the people who are going to apply will be energetic, will care and will work hard and will be willing to make the tough calls.”

Hyer’s statement says:

“For fourteen years, I have worked through my role in the private sector to build a stronger and better community for us all. For the last five and a half years, I have worked arduously on those same goals as a Council member, having been honored to be appointed and then twice elected by the citizens of Olympia.

“Public service, I have found, takes a tremendous toll on us, both physically and mentally. Intense pressure, public scrutiny, and the sheer hours involved build up and threaten to consume us. I have chosen to serve, however, and willingly accepted these things. Eventually, we all make mistakes. While I have had many successes in life, I have also had my share of mistakes. Recently, I made a singular error in judgment that has been horribly detrimental to my family, friends, and this community. While I have been humbled by the support that has been offered me, I nonetheless must take ownership of my mistakes, and there are no words that can express how sorry I am.

“I fully intend to continue to serve this community long into the future. It is a part of my core values, and my only source of redemption and atonement.

“At this time, however, I must leave public life, and focus on my own health.”

Hyer, 37, was arrested Feb. 18 on suspicion of selling marijuana to a confidential informant. The arrest seemed to derail a once-promising political career. They came two days after Hyer had been informally selected to become the next Thurston County treasurer.

He pleaded not guilty to three drug felonies March 9, and his attorney suggested in a court filing that “a trusted political mentor” of Hyer’s entrapped him.

State law requires public officials to forfeit their office if convicted of a felony.

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