Court report: The real cost of public drama in Federal Way | Mirror editorial

It’s hard to believe that 14 pieces of paper could cost so much.

Based on the whole legal tug-of-war, one would expect the “Stephson report” to be a made-for-TV masterpiece.

The report attracted negative attention to the Federal Way Municipal Court over allegations of a hostile work environment — or in laymen’s terms, office drama on steroids.

More than a year ago, Presiding Judge Michael Morgan sued the city to stop the report’s release after a public records request. The Tacoma News Tribune entered the legal battle over the public’s right to know. Last week, the state Supreme Court put an end to Morgan’s lengthy appeal, which was in his best interests, not yours.

This report also came with a public price tag of at least $80,000.

The Mirror posted all 14 pages of the report online because those 14 pages wasted so much time, energy and money. The public at least deserves a look. For the sake of argument, even if the court clerks’ testimonies were cut in half in terms of truth, you can smell something burning from all the friction.

If the court’s workplace hostility is as harsh as the report claims, then the media has been fair in following this story in more than a year’s worth of reports. The report is more embarrassing to Judge Morgan now than if he just would have let it go.

Elected officials who exercise poor personal judgment can always sit on the hot seat, kind of like a child and the naughty stool. The report, along with its public disclosure, is Judge Morgan’s cross to bear.

The Mirror gives The Stephson Report one and a half stars for being a box-office bomb to Federal Way, not because of the report’s author, but by the unnecessary and over-the-top performance of its leading actor. If part of the job of an elected judge is to manage the court, and if a manager sets the tone for a working environment, then voters must consider Morgan’s performance in this category.