Acting Mill Creek police chief’s layoff came with $24k payout

The city admitted no fault in its agreement with Scott Eastman, who wasn’t picked as permanent chief.

Scott Eastman

Scott Eastman

MILL CREEK — The city agreed to pay former Acting Police Chief Scott Eastman $24,338 after laying him off and picking someone else to lead the department permanently.

The payout is equivalent to two months’ of Eastman’s regular compensation, according to the agreement, which was signed on Oct. 2.

City Manager Michael Ciaravino has not yet announced who he chose as the new chief.

Eastman unsuccessfully applied for the job. His past position, deputy police chief, was eliminated this year as the city trimmed its budget to offset the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on government revenues.

Neither the city nor Eastman admitted any fault in the six-page agreement, which Mill Creek provided to The Daily Herald in response to a records request.

“The City is grateful to Chief Eastman for his service, particularly during the challenging times created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says a press release issued on Monday.

Eastman is the latest Mill Creek employee to lose his job because of choices made by the city manager, who was recently the subject of a no-confidence vote by a union representing many staff members.

City staff and others have questioned whether Ciaravino is fit to be manager after he laid off longtime employees in June while retaining two interim staffers who were his colleagues at past jobs.

But the City Council has declined the union’s request to remove Ciaravino from the position and is instead working with him to establish a permanent leadership team, improve communication and address other problems.

In January, Eastman was temporarily appointed to the police department’s helm when then Chief Greg Elwin was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Elwin later parted ways with the city after the probe found that he let a relative, who was a fugitive, live with him and failed to report to the city manager an employee’s potentially threatening comment.

Under the terms of the most recent agreement, Eastman agreed not to sue the city for wrongful termination, age discrimination or any other reason.

He also consented to refrain from “making any disparaging statements” about the city to members of the media or anyone else.

Eastman will lose his health insurance at the end of the month, with the option to continue coverage under a federal law known as COBRA, an acronym for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

Starting Nov. 1, his participation will cease in all other benefit plans and programs through his past employment with the city, according to the agreement.

Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.

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