Updated: Federal Way mayor’s adviser McNey resigns after incident involving police, will not face criminal charges

Federal Way Senior Adviser to the Mayor Steve McNey resigned his position following an incident involving Federal Way police Sunday evening.

According to a statement from City Hall, McNey’s resignation coincides with a police incident in Federal Way Sunday that resulted in misdemeanor charges. The city, following standard protocol, arranged for a special prosecutor from Auburn to review the case and make final charging decisions.

As of Wednesday afternoon, city spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said the Auburn prosecutor reviewed the case and declined to file criminal charges against McNey at this time. The charges under consideration were for fourth-degree domestic violence assault and third-degree domestic violence malicious mischief.

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell said he accepted McNey’s resignation Sunday evening.

“It is important for the integrity of the process to remain completely separated from the criminal and personnel matter,” Ferrell said in the city’s statement. “I have complete confidence in the law department, human resources and in the manner of which the Federal Way Police handled this incident, exercising the highest level of professionalism.”

McNey said, as of Tuesday afternoon, he had not been contacted by police or by anyone from the Auburn prosecutors office.

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not afraid to go to trial,” McNey said.

While McNey did not provide specifics to the matter, the Federal Way Police Blotter for Sunday references an incident that took place at a residence listed as McNey’s by the King County Assessor’s Office. According to the blotter, a woman flagged down an officer in front of the police station and said she wanted to report that her boyfriend assaulted her. McNey was not mentioned specifically in the report, however.

While the city’s statement said McNey’s resignation was not “solicited by the city,” McNey said it was clear he would not be able to retain his position.

“I think it was pretty clear if I didn’t resign I would have been terminated,” McNey said. “I resigned because I think it was the respectful to thing to do, but I don’t know if I agree with that statement.”

McNey said he is exploring employment in the private sector. He said he requested severance pay from the city but was denied. He said he is seeking unemployment.

Ferrell said Tuesday he is looking to fill McNey’s position as soon as possible.

“We’re in the process of evaluating and figuring out the best possible course moving forward,” Ferrell said. “We’ll be making a decision shortly on how to move forward.”

As senior adviser to the mayor, McNey was responsible for communication matters, including drafting press releases, media communications, speeches and social media and public outreach, as well as high-level policy advice and acting as a legislative liaison with state legislators and other entities. McNey was appointed to the position by Ferrell in November 2016. His annual salary was $93,444. Prior to that McNey served as the city’s community outreach coordinator for which he was hired in January 2015.

While McNey occasionally volunteered for Ferrell’s mayoral campaign, Ferrell said the mayor’s race will not be affected. He also said he does not think filling the position will be a problem despite the senior adviser position depending upon Ferrell’s re-election as both Ferrell’s opponents, Councilwoman Susan Honda and resident Mark Greene, stating they will hire some form of a city administrator if elected.

“The position is going to need to be filled,” Ferrell said, adding he has no set timeline for when that will happen. “We certainly need this level of expertise and judgment with the many issues facing Federal Way.”

Steve McNey

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