After no-confidence vote, Alderwood water district manager to retire

Flooded with complaints, the district’s board has placed General Manager Dick McKinley on paid leave.

Dick McKinley (Alderwood Water & Wastewater District)

Dick McKinley (Alderwood Water & Wastewater District)

LYNNWOOD — The embattled executive of a local water district will retire next month.

Dick McKinley, general manager of Alderwood Water and Wastewater District, was put on administrative leave “for undisclosed reasons” earlier this week by the district’s board of directors, according to a staff union representative.

McKinley will remain on leave until his retirement, effective Nov. 6, the district’s attorney Joe Bennett said in an email to The Daily Herald at 5 p.m. Friday.

The news comes two days after members of the union, AFSCME Local 1811-A,voted no-confidence in McKinley, citing his “utter disregard for the day to day well being of staff.”

“Morale is at an all-time low and poor treatment coupled with uncompetitive wages have driven employee(s) away in amazing numbers,” the bargaining unit told the board in a letter.

Of Alderwood’s roughly 160 employees, about half are represented by the bargaining unit.

The no-confidence vote was unanimous, according to the letter.

“Because of these failures of leadership, we believe that the best course of action for the District is to find a new General Manager and find one that will be equipped to repair the damage caused in such a short time,” says the letter, signed by union staff representative Roger Moller of the Washington State Council of County and City Employees.

McKinley could not be reached for comment on Friday. He previously said he could not publicly respond to the complaints.

The union’s indictment is the latest sign of employees’ dissatisfaction with McKinley, who headed the district for about two years.

Alderwood serves more than 200,000 people in south Everett and other jurisdictions, with headquarters in Lynnwood. It’s the state’s largest special district to provide water and sewer services.

Since February, multiple investigations into employee complaints have found McKinley made disparaging remarks about staff members while other employees were in earshot, in violation of the district’s ethics code, The Daily Herald previously reported.

Frustrated by a lack of action from the board, several staff members have confronted the board about the problems during its public meetings.

The exodus of employees has included longtime staff members as well as the human resources manager, who complained that she faced retaliation from the general manager for cooperating in the misconduct investigations.

The board has told The Herald that it’s listening to staff concerns but has declined to comment on the specifics of the complaints against the general manager.

“The Board of Commissioners will not comment publicly on a personnel matter involving any District employee, including the General Manager,” Board President Paul McIntyre said last month in a written statement. “The Board of Commissioners values all employees and welcomes their concerns and suggestions about how the District can improve and better serve its customers.”

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

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Junelle Lewis, right, daughter Tamara Grigsby and son Jayden Hill sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monroe’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
On Juneteenth: ‘We can always say that there is hope’

The Snohomish County NAACP is co-sponsoring a celebration Saturday near Snohomish, with speakers, music and food.

36 hours after final show, Everett radio host Charlye Parker, 80, dies

When Parker got into radio, she was a rarity: a woman in a DJ booth. For the past 12 years, she hosted weekend country music shows at KXA.

Dr. Scott Macfee and Dr. Daniel Goodman outside of the Community Health Center on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett CHC doctors, feeling like ‘commodities,’ speak up on ailing system

At the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, doctors say they feel like “rats getting off a sinking ship.” They want it to get better.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man charged with shooting at ex-girlfriend, child in Mountlake Terrace

The man, 21, showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and opened fire through the door, new court records say.

People walk along Olympic Avenue past Lifeway Cafe and Olympic Theater that currently hosts Lifeway Church on Friday, July 7, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington churches waged covert ‘battle’ against Pride event, records show

Sermons, emails and interviews reveal how an LGBTQ+ nonprofit became the target of a covert campaign by local evangelical leaders.

Drive-in movies are coming to the north Island. (Port of Everett image)
Where to catch outdoor movies this summer in Snohomish County

Bring a chair, blanket and the kids for a cinema night under the stars with your favorite movies, including “Barbie” and “Trolls.”

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Monroe in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Roundabout construction may slow traffic around Monroe

A state project to put a roundabout on Highway 203 will close a heavily used intersection for days starting Friday.