Edmonds mayoral assistant let go by new boss

  • Wed Nov 30th, 2011 8:37pm
  • News

Herald staff

EDMONDS — A day after being sworn into office, Mayor Dave Earling fired an executive assistant who had claimed a hostile work environment at City Hall.

Kimberly Cole, who is also a Lynnwood city councilwoman, had been on paid leave from her $79,000-a-year job. She served as the chief aide for Mayor Mike Cooper, who lost the Nov. 8 election to Earling.

The city’s code and personnel policies dictate that the executive assistant serves at the pleasure of the mayor, according to a press release from the city.

Earling decided to select a new person as his executive assistant and wished Kimberly Cole the best, according to the press release.

Cole worked for Cooper when he served on the Snohomish County Council. When he became mayor last year, Cooper hired her.

On Sept. 21, Cooper sent Cole home after she expressed concerns about her personal safety at work.

“In order to protect you from unwelcome intimidation regarding a personnel matter I am placing you on paid administrative leave,” he wrote her in an email.

Public records show that over the next two days she, Cooper and attorneys representing her and the city worked on variations of a deal to let Cole resign and receive a lump-sum settlement.

On Sept. 22, Cole resigned and signed an agreement that included a $65,000 payment. A day later, she signed an agreement beefed up with language from city lawyers that provided an $84,000 payment — the equivalent of a year’s salary plus benefits.

But Oct. 4, the City Council — including Councilman D.J. Wilson, who helped facilitate earlier negotiations with Cole — voted to rescind the deal. That action effectively reinstated Cole.

A Kirkland attorney has been investigating her hostile-workplace claims.

People who want to apply for the job can find more information at the city’s website at www.edmondswa.gov or by calling the human resources department of the city.