A new investigation of alleged aggressive and intimidating behavior by Mayor Don Gough found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. (Click here to review the full report.)
This past June, Director of Neighborhoods and Community Affairs Emily Yim claimed Gough intimated her after a staff meeting and retaliated against her when she complained. She also said the city didn’t respond properly to her complaint.
The city hired the Seabold Group to investigate – the same group that looked into similar allegations against Gough last summer.
It all started during a meeting on June 22, when department leaders were discussing budget cuts. Gough and Yim got into a heated exchange at the meeting. When they met afterwards, Yim said she felt physically threatened because of Gough’s tone and demeanor. Gough denied that he did anything inappropriate.
Investigators say the evidence was inconclusive about what exactly happened in the meeting and who was at fault. One witness said Yim in tears shortly after the meeting.
Yim also claimed that after she complained about Gough’s actions on June 22, he suddenly stopped interacting with her outside of staff meetings. Investigators found that all department directors have had difficulty accessing the mayor at times. The report said there was evidence Gough was guarded in his interactions with Yim, but that she also was avoiding interacting with him.
Yim then said that Gough arbitrarily and vindictively reduced her staffing by 50% and relocated her department in retaliation. She also claimed she provided alternatives to Gough’s budget proposals, which were summarily rejected. Investigators say the evidence did not support those claims.
Yim finally alleged that the city didn’t timely and effectively address her complaints, but the report outlined a series of steps the HR department took after learning about the allegations.
In October five female employees wrote a letter to the City Council in which they outlined their concerns over a “hostile and harassment-based working environment.” That’s about the time councilmembers censured Gough and called on him to resign.
Yim resigned from the city last fall. The City Council is expected to review the report at tonight’s meeting.
I believe the matter will be discussed in executive session, so it will not be open to the general public. Has anyone heard anything different?
Of course, that doesn’t prevent any Lynnwood citizen from going down to City Hall tonight and expressing their opinion about the report during the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting.
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