LYNNWOOD — The city attorney announced he would resign by the end of this month.
Eric Frimodt said he would step aside after the May 24 council meeting where expenses in the city attorney’s budget came under question and Mayor Don Gough called for an exploration of the attorney’s billing statements.
“I am currently in the process of putting together, with the mayor and council, a transition plan,” Frimodt said.
Frimodt works for the Bellevue-based firm Inslee, Best, Doezie &Ryder, which has provided legal service for the city for the past five years. The city’s contract continues despite the resignation. Gough will eventually bring forward Frimodt’s replacement, who will be from the same firm.
Frimodt has served as the city’s attorney for about one year following the retirement of another attorney from his firm.
“The whole thing is totally unnecessary,” Councilman Loren Simmonds said. “Comments were made (at the May 24th meeting), by accident or by design, that were just unfortunate. The city has another black eye. This reflects on the whole city.”
Council President Ted Hikel saw it differently.
“The city attorney heard something the rest of us did not,” he said. “There was a difference in what was said and what was heard.”
Two other prominent employees have left the city in the past few months.
In March, finance director John Moir departed following a heated exchange during a council work session. Moir was peppered with questions about how city funds had been allocated and what plans had been made to resolve the city’s budget woes.
Stephanie Simpson, the mayor’s executive assistant, has also left her post. She accused Gough of discrimination last February, which led to a personnel investigation and a settlement between the city and Simpson. She was given $49,500 plus three months of benefits for her agreement to not sue the city or Gough.
Council members expressed that Frimodt has consistently acted with integrity and professionalism as city attorney.
“I was dismayed to learn of his resignation,” Councilman Mark Smith said. “He has been a tremendous asset to the city and has been very professional in a difficult environment.”