This Monday night, the Lynnwood City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution that calls for Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough’s resignation. The resolution was posted on the city’s website in the Council’s agenda for next week.
For the past four months, Gough has been at the center of a secretive personnel investigation by a law firm hired by the city. In April they started looking into complaints about his dealings with city employees.
The investigation focused on several key areas. Among them, that the city’s hiring practices had been compromised because Gough allegedly contacted applicants during the hiring process and told them that a decision had already been made. Investigators said this undermined the objectivity of the process and negatively impacted employee morale as to whether they were eligible for promotion.
The report also said that some employees are worried that participating in the investigation might harm their working relationship with the Mayor and could lead to retaliation. Several employees have expressed deep concerns about their ability to continue working directly under the Mayor’s supervision once the investigative findings are released.
Additionally, investigators found that the Mayor interfered with the investigation and conducted his own parallel investigation, trying to contact witnesses while the independent investigation was under way. Normally if a city employee did that it could lead to termination, but the City Council has no authority to terminate the Mayor because he is an elected official.
The report also discussed “discourteous treatment of city employees and other conduct which is not conducive to a productive work environment.”
The City Council says the Mayor’s conduct allowed his personal interests to take precedent over the city’s best interests. They believe it violates his oath of office to faithfully carry out the duties with which he was charged.
Council members believe it is in the city’s best interest if Mayor Gough resigned.
Concerns about the Mayor’s “lack of professionalism” has prompted the Council to consider adopting a Code of Conduct, applicable to all employees, elected officials, volunteers and contractors.
If the Mayor refuses to resign, the Council strongly recommends that he attend anger management and sensitivity training.
If the resolution is approved, all hiring, promotional, employee discipline, layoff, job re-assignment or change in job duties must first be presented to the Council as part of a review process before any final decision is made.
The Council says it hopes these actions will restore employee and public faith in the fairness and openness of Lynnwood’s government, will foster a better work environment and will allow the City to return to essential business matters.
An e-mail requesting comment from Mayor Gough was not returned.