Terminated Mill Creek city manager gets 6 months of pay

Rebecca Polizzotto also gets a lump sum for unused vacation. In return, she drops a $1 million legal claim.

MILL CREEK — When Mill Creek and its embattled city manager agreed to part ways on Tuesday, both sides made concessions.

The city terminated Rebecca Polizzotto without cause, despite employee complaints that sparked months of personnel investigations. Polizzotto agreed to drop a $1 million damage claim, a potential precursor to a lawsuit against the city.

The city will pay her the equivalent of six months of salary, or roughly $87,000, plus up to six months of benefits. She’s due to receive nearly 125 hours of unused vacation compensation in a lump sum.

The City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday evening to approve those terms and to end Polizzotto’s employment contract.

Her attorney, Joel Nichols of Everett, said that his client and city leaders reached a mutual agreement about her departure.

“Mrs. Polizzotto is grateful for her opportunity to serve the city and she’s proud of her accomplishments,” Nichols said. “She doesn’t wish any ill will on anyone and wishes the city success and hopes the parties can move forward in a positive fashion.”

Polizzotto, 53, has been on paid leave since June. The City Council voted several times to extend her absence.

A former assistant attorney general in Alaska with prior experience running a small town in Georgia, Polizzotto joined Mill Creek in mid-2015 amid high expectations. The City Council hoped she would shore up government finances, promote tourism and help attract new businesses to the city of 20,000.

By the following year, former employees were accusing her of driving an unusually high number of people to quit their city jobs. The situation escalated in April of this year, after the police chief and three other city directors filed whistleblower complaints about her conduct; three of the whistleblowers had been hired by Polizzotto.

The city attorney contracted an outside investigator to look into the complaints, but the result of that work has not yet become public. Also this spring, the state Auditor’s Office released a report that flagged questionable meal and alcohol expenses on Polizzotto’s city credit card.

The damage claim Polizzotto filed against the city of Mill Creek in July alleged breach of contract, violation of due process rights, defamation and interference with her supervision of employees. Her separation agreement ends that legal action, with the understanding that she will not bring any future case on those issues. She specifically agreed not to pursue claims of lost salary, libel, slander, fraud or wrongful discharge.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@herald net.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Lead climbers head up their respective routes at Vertical World North on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Beginner’s ascent: A newcomer’s guide to indoor climbing

Indoor climbing gyms in and around Snohomish County offer thrills without winter chills.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Providence Swedish tightens COVID, mask policy

Citing a rise in respiratory illness, local hospitals and clinics will require masks for care.

Chestnut mushrooms grow in a fruiting tent on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at Black Forest Mushrooms in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Fungi town: Downtown Everett home to new indoor gourmet mushroom farm

Black Forest Mushrooms will grow up to 20,000 pounds of tasty mushrooms each month. Its storefront opens Saturday at 2110 Hewitt Ave.

Outside of Angel of the Winds Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Police arrest Angel of the Winds arena worker accused of stabbing boss

The man allegedly walked up to his employer and demanded a raise, before stabbing him in the stomach, witnesses said.

The town post office in Index, Washington on Wedesday, Nov. 29, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Index, smallest town in Snohomish County, is No. 1 in voter turnout

Index has beaten the Snohomish County ballot return rate in each of the last 10 years. Snohomish County leaders have a few theories as to why.

Founder and Executive Director Pa Ousman Joof, alongside Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell, right, prepares to cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Washington West African Center on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Born out of struggle, West African Center flourishes in Lynnwood

African music filled the room Saturday at 19203 36th Ave. West, for the grand opening of the nonprofit’s new state headquarters.

An STI clinic opened Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free STI clinic opens in Everett after 14-year hiatus — and as rates spike

The county-run facility will provide treatment and resources for prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

Graffiti covers the eastern side of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County Cascade Unit on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Again, Boys and Girls Club tagged with suspected gang signs in Everett

Residents on Cascade Drive say their neighborhood has been the scene of excessive graffiti and sometimes gunfire in the past year.

A man pauses to look out over the flooding along Old Snohomish Monroe Road on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Why are Snohomish County rivers susceptible to flooding?

The short answer: Geography. Our proximity to Puget Sound and the mountains makes our rivers sensitive to big storms.

Henry King sits on a bench he often spent time on between the Boulevard Park and Taylor Dock boardwalks in Bellingham, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Bellingham Police Department)
Marysville man accused of killing ‘kind, gentle’ homeless Bellingham man

After a nine-month investigation, police arrested Elijah Belmont Wednesday in the death of Henry King in Boulevard Park.

Traffic moves along Mukilteo Speedway in front of Olympic Middle School on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Automated traffic speed cameras get the green light in Mukilteo

Cameras will be at three sites on Mukilteo Speedway for school and park safety, not at red lights.

Brenda Stonecipher, left, and Mary Fosse
Everett council president backs down from ban on holding 2 offices

On Wednesday, over 20 speakers showed up to support City Council member Mary Fosse’s ability to serve in the state Legislature.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.