I just talked with Shane Cottrell, owner of Island Water Sports, on NE Second Street. That interview after the jump.
First I asked him whether Thomas Noland did in fact work at the sales event, which went from 8 a.m. to midnight. "Why do you ask?" he said. I explained that questions had been raised about whether Mayor Noland was entitled to vote on the matter without filing a conflict-of-interest disclosure form.
"He was a volunteer," Cottrell said of Thomas Noland.
What did he do, exactly?
"He works as a firefighter," Cottrell said. "He stood at the front door and made sure that if something went wrong, he could take care of it."
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That is, emergency first-aid treatment. I told Cottrell that that sounded like a job that an off-duty firefighter usually gets paid to perform. He insisted me that Thomas Noland and other firefighters were unpaid volunteers.
"Most of them grew up at the store," Cottrell said. "And they wanted to help out with whatever they could."
Thomas Noland has been a magnet for controversy. During the home stretch of the mayoral campaign, he and three friends were busted by police for vandalizing the signs of Noland's opponents.
I've left a message with the mayor, and I'll update when I hear back.