Mill Creek city manager’s paid leave extended another month

Questioned about credit card charges and treatment of staff, Rebecca Polizzotto is poised to sue.

Rebecca Polizzotto

Rebecca Polizzotto

MILL CREEK — After more than two hours behind closed doors Wednesday night, the Mill Creek City Council voted to extend the paid administrative leave of embattled City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto.

A few residents and city staff waited for the council to emerge from executive session around 8:15 p.m.

Mayor Pam Pruitt said the council decided to extend Polizzotto’s leave until Sept. 25 on the advice of the city attorney. The city is continuing to investigate claims by staff members. The city attorney declined to elaborate.

Councilmember John Steckler was the lone dissenting vote.

Polizzotto, 53, has been embroiled in controversy over questionable charges on city credit cards and her treatment of staff.

She filed a damage claim against the city in July that accused staff and elected officials of treating her unfairly. She is asking for $1 million.

Citing illness, Polizzotto began working on and off from home in April. In June, the council placed her on paid leave. It was set to expire Friday.

Last week, the city at first denied requests to release documents related to her damage claim. The city relented after The Daily Herald published an online story about the lack of public disclosure.

The claim alleges breach of contract, violation of due process rights, defamation and interference with supervising employees. The city has 60 days to respond.

In April, four high-level administrators submitted written complaints about Polizzotto, prompting the city to begin an investigation. They included the city’s police chief, human resources director, finance director and communication director.

In a memo to the city attorney, HR director Laura Orlando wrote “I would characterize her behavior as disrespectful of others, verbally abusive and purposefully intimidating. She is the clearest example of a workplace bully that I have ever seen.”

Polizzotto receives an annual salary of nearly $174,000 plus a car allowance.

The City Council hired her in 2015 after a nationwide search.

She did not attend the meeting Wednesday night.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

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