Letters to the Editor

Investigator fails to find truth about mayor's conduct | Letters

So, has anyone actually read the statement made by Federal Way City Councilmember Kelly Maloney and compared it to the report of the “independent” investigator?

Reading the full statement will give the reader insight into one of her primary concerns: the hostile work environment at the city for city employees.

Her concern seems to be: if the mayor treats elected officials badly, then how does he treat staff that have less power?

Why are so many people leaving city employment? Is it because of the same type of conduct by the mayor? Yet, the “independent” report makes no mention of this most important issue and makes no attempt to look into the concern.

Instead, the scope of the investigation was limited to whether there was a threat to “personal safety.” I am not a lawyer, but a hostile work environment allegation does not need to be supported by a showing that someone’s personal safety is threatened; it is a much lower threshold than that.

The investigator’s own words reveal the most telling flaw in the report. She states: “The primary difference in their accounts is how Mayor Priest’s behavior and purported anger was characterized.”

Yet, when she had evidence handed to her that a staff member stated that “it got pretty loud in there,” in her own words stated that she “did not follow up with an interview with this employee because, based on Mayor Priest’s admission, I do find he spoke loudly to Ms. Maloney at times during this exchange.”

What? The only thing he admitted was that he went into “direct mode.” He denied using the F word, denied “yelling” and essentially called Ms. Maloney a liar.

Yet, the investigator chose not to talk to the very witness who actually heard how loud it was? Sounds like the fact finder did not want to find facts that would discredit the mayor’s version.

The entire strategy of the mayor’s minions in this paper and apparently in this investigation has been to blame the victim. Do they really think we are that stupid?

Despite the investigator’s veiled attempts to rise above politics emphasizing that her report was not political, she spent 10 pages playing down and discrediting Ms. Maloney’s accounts and spent no time trying to find the truth.

She even consulted with the city attorney to stop the investigation even though more witnesses were being identified. When all else fails, follow the money. Who hired the “independent investigator?” The city attorney. Who authorizes payment to the investigator? The city attorney. Who does the city attorney work for and who does she depend on for her paycheck? The mayor. Case closed.

Remember this when the hostile work environment lawsuits start pouring in and taxpayers are left to foot the bill for the mayor’s “direct mode.”

At least Kelly Maloney tried to stop it. We will not be able to say the same for the city attorney or the investigator she hired to cover this all up and sweep everything under the rug.

Erika Dahring, Federal Way


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