City Council tables action on City Manager to January 4, for new council to handle

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 15, 2021: The Sammamish City Council last night tabled until Jan. 4 action on whether to suspend city manager Dave Rudat.

Last night was the last meeting of the year for the current council. The next council, seated Jan. 4, includes three new members elected Nov. 3. A fourth member elected then, Amy Lam, was sworn on Nov. 24, filling a seat once held by Jason Ritchie. Ritchie resigned in January after moving to California. Former council member and mayor Tom Odell was appointed to Richie’s seat until the November election and certification on Nov. 23.

Rudat, the subject of a lengthy investigation, gave his first public response to the investigation. His response also included the first specific details released publicly of the probe. Council members previously discussed the investigation in general terms in open sessions, but details remained sealed in executive session deliberations.

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Council extends deadline for Rudat to respond to proposed suspension

Dec. 9, 2021: The Sammamish City Council Tuesday extended to Dec, 13 the deadline for city manager Dave Rudat to respond to a notice of a 30 day suspension, adopted by the council Nov. 16.

Rudat had been given until Nov. 30 to respond to charges he breached confidentiality of executive sessions and other improprieties.

Rudat attended the Nov. 16th meeting but did not ask for an extension at that time. He went on vacation beginning Nov. 22 for the rest of the month. Upon his return, he asked for an extension of the deadline to respond, citing a personal leave.

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Deadline today for Rudat’s response; incoming Council Member Lam appears to be swing vote on discipline

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 30, 2021: The fate of Sammamish City Manager David Rudat may rest with Amy Lam, the City Council’s newest member.

Lam was elected Nov. 2 to fill out the remaining term of Jason Ritchie, who resigned early this year. Tom Odell was appointed to fill the position until the election. Lam defeated planning commissioner Josh Amato. The election was certified Nov. 23, at which time Odell left the council.

Lam hasn’t been sworn in yet. If she isn’t by the city clerk before the Dec. 7 council meeting, the next one after the Thanksgiving holiday, she will be then.

And one of the first decision she faces is whether to vote to suspend Rudat for 30 days without pay for mishandling confidential information and for other transgressions.

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City staff opposes restoring a stringent Town Center stormwater regulation designed to protect creeks and homes

By Miki Mullor
Editor

A months-long investigation by Sammamish Comment that includes email interviews with staff and public records requests reveal city staff opposition to restoring a stringent stormwater standard in the Town Center area.

  • Staff opposes the former standard because the soil in the Town Center makes it “infeasible” to implement. 
  • In public, staff said the standard or an equivalent to it, is in place.
  • In private meetings with council members, staff admitted it was eliminated and opposed restoring it.
  • STCA’s Phase I 400 homes permit’s stormwater section was approved although the developer said it is not implementing it because “it is not feasible”. 
  • The City does not know the impact of the currently enacted and relaxed standards on the creeks and downstream homes.
  • City Manager David Rudat on The Comment’s investigation: “a take down”.
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City’s budget deficit cuts and tax increases explained

By Josh Amato 
Guest contributor 

Analysis 

The City of Sammamish budget is in a structural deficit — the amount of money coming into the General Fund (operations) is less than the expenses going out. 

With this year’s  original spending proposal, the biennial budget was in a $16.6m deficit. The deficit could  be fixed by raising taxes, cutting expenses, using Fund Balance (reserves), or a mix of all three. The Council has known this day would come for a long time – as far back as 2016. But it seems no matter who won the last election, nearly every candidate was opposed to increasing revenue. There was no candidate in 2019 willing to say new taxes would be necessary, except one: Mark Baughman in 2017. 

“At the Candidates Forum, the other seven candidates stated their firm opposition to new taxes and then turned around to support bonds to pay for roads,” Sammamish Comment reported at the time. “When it came Baughman’s turn, he was the only candidate to declare that bonds may require a tax hike to pay for them. It’s a truth that needs telling, and Baughman told the truth.”

Baughman was defeated by Jason Ritchie  

So here we are.

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