Bothell City Manager Jennifer Phillips during a State of the City address in 2018. (Kailan Manandic / Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, file)

Bothell City Manager Jennifer Phillips during a State of the City address in 2018. (Kailan Manandic / Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, file)

In Bothell, the city manager is getting $104,000 to retire

A separation agreement would assure Jennifer Phillips six months of severance pay.

BOTHELL — The City Council is parting ways with City Manager Jennifer Phillips and will pay more than $100,000 to see her off.

Phillips, hired in November 2016, will receive six months of pay and deferred compensation, plus a year of health benefits, under a severance agreement the council is to approve during its 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday. The total package is valued at roughly $130,000, of which $104,000 is for salary.

Her last day of “active employment” will be Friday. However, her official final day with the city will be April 1 as she uses up accrued leave, according to the agreement.

The city announced the deal in a news release last Friday, describing the exit as a retirement.

“As Bothell moves into a new phase, this separation agreement works for both the City and Ms. Phillips,” reads the news release. “City Council applauds Jennifer for navigating our pandemic and emergency management response over the last year. She has always shown strong and steady leadership for city staff and the community throughout her time with the City.”

Phillips, reached by phone Monday, declined to answer questions and hung up.

On Feb. 4 — the day before the city published its statement — Phillips shared the news with administrators of several Washington cities and the executives of at least two statewide organizations.

“I wanted you all to know that today I announced my retirement,” she wrote them in a group email. “Please know, that although this is unexpected, I am truly happy about this decision. I have negotiated a very fair separation agreement with the City.”

Continuing, she wrote, “it is time for me to be with my husband and enjoy this beautiful state, and once vaccinated travel again. And if the stars align like we hope, we will retire in Austria or Switzerland.”

Councilwoman Rosemary McAuliffe lauded Phillips on Monday.

“She did do an outstanding job making it through a very difficult year,” McAuliffe said.

A pandemic-driven economic downturn forced Phillips to lay off several city employees to resolve a budget shortfall, she noted.

And two tragic shootings involving police officers have rocked the community in recent months.

In July, a Bothell police officer died in a shootout following a traffic stop. Investigators later determined the bullet that killed the officer came from the gun of his wounded partner as he returned fire with the suspect.

Also in July, a Bothell man died after he charged at a police officer with something in his hand — reportedly a knife — and the officer opened fire. The victim’s family has raised questions about the events that day.

McAuliffe declined to say what led to the council and Phillips discussing a separation agreement. She did acknowledge that Phillips and some of the seven council members didn’t always agree on policy approaches.

Phillips served as city manager in St. Helena, California, before taking the job in Bothell. Her previous jobs included assistant city manager in Santa Rosa, Santa Monica and Fullerton, California.

Davina Duerr, a councilwoman and state representative, said Monday she would refrain from commenting until after the council acts.

Under terms of the deal, Phillips and council members agree to “not make any public statements that are false, injurious and/or derogatory” about one another.

Also Tuesday, the City Council will decide how to proceed in finding a replacement. City staff are recommending an acting city manager be named, with an eye to appointing a current city executive as an interim administrator at a future meeting.

A search for a new city manager could take roughly six months, according to a staff report.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com | @dospueblos

Talk to us

More in Local News

Granite Falls
Prosecutors: ‘Yo mama’ joke led to racist assault in Granite Falls

A man took offense and went into a rage, spewing racist slurs as he beat up a teenager, charging papers say.

Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Fruits, flowers and bees aplenty in Arlington farm fete

First-ever event highlights local growers’ bounty and contributions to local community

The Everett Districting Commission is proposing four adjustments to the city council districts based on 2020 Census data. (City of Everett)
Proposed map shifts every Everett City Council district

Census data from 2020 prompted several “small tweaks” to council district boundaries.

Cars wait to turn onto Highway 9 from Bickford Avenue on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 9 stretch closing for roundabout work next week

Drivers will need to use detours as the closure affects the stretch between Second and 30th streets in Snohomish.

Commanding Officer Meghan Bodnar is greeted by her son Grady, who hasn’t seen her in 224 days, at Naval Station Everett on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After 200-plus days abroad, Navy destroyers return to Everett homeport

The USS Gridley is one of the few women-led ships, attesting to a growing number of women in the U.S. military.

Snohomish County is considering buying the America's Best Value Inn in Edmonds and converting it into shelter. Photographed in Edmonds, Washington on August 15, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Snohomish County eyes another motel-to-shelter project in Edmonds

The potential $9.1 million purchase was announced on the heels of another proposed motel-to-shelter conversion in Everett.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Abortion rights protesters fill all four corners of the intersection in front of the Everett Planned Parenthood in support of abortion rights on Saturday, July 9, 2022 (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
GOP cheered abortion ruling. Democrats responded by voting.

A swell of electoral support for Democrats pushed turnout higher in primary. Republicans look to adjust for November

People begin to gather on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, at the North Mountain Fire Lookout north of Darrington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘A labor of love’: Restoration of lookout north of Darrington now complete

Volunteers spent eight years repairing the 57-year-old North Mountain Fire Lookout. Last week, they gathered to celebrate.

Most Read