April 26, 2022: Some on the Sammamish City Council just don’t get it. Mayor Christie Malchow and Member Karen Moran sure don’t.
Members Amy Lam, Kali Clark, and Karen Howe get it, especially Howe. Howe provided an eloquent argument for why the Rudat ethics investigative reports should be made public. She is providing leadership that is, sadly, absent from Mayor Malchow, who now flip-flops her votes. She did so twice in last week’s meeting.
Sammamish Comment has written much about the Rudat probe and why the reports of his misdeeds should be made public. We won’t repeat these long details. Last Tuesday’s city council meeting brings up new issues in the debate over releasing the reports.
April 20, 2022: The Sammamish City Council deadlocked in two more votes this week on the release of the reports of the ethics investigation of former City Manager David Rudat.
Votes were taken Tuesday on two motions; each failed on a 3-3 deadlock.
Council Member Amy Lam moved to release the report with certain redactions. Mayor Christie Malchow offered an amendment to release the report, under attorney-client privilege, only to the council members. Malchow voted against this motion on April 5, which failed in a 3-3 vote. Offering the same motion this week represents a flip-flop by Malchow. The amendment failed on a 3-3 vote, with Malchow, Deputy Mayor Kali Clark and Council Member voting in favor. Lam voted with Members Kent Treen and Karen Moran in opposing this motion. Lam’s flip from the April 5th vote defeated Malchow’s amendment.
On Lam’s main motion, Lam, Howe and Clark voted in favor of releasing a redacted report. Malchow flipped again and once more sided with Treen and Moran against releasing the report, even in a redacted form. Treen and Moran were opposed to the ethics probe all along and continue to oppose any release of the reports to the public. Only an executive summary has been released.
Malchow under pressure
Malchow has been under pressure throughout the ethics probe, first as the leading proponent of initiating the probe while deputy mayor and when the vote came to fire or suspend Rudat. The council rejected the former on a 2-5 vote (only former Council Members Tom Odell and Pam Stuart supported firing him); and the on a vote to suspend him, which received a majority of the council votes.
Subsequently as mayor, Malchow provided the swing vote to block release of the reports. During Tuesday’s meeting, Malchow admitted she’s been under pressure and the strain was obvious. She said she was on the fence about releasing the reports, then split her votes in favor and then rejecting release. Malchow wants to “move on” from the controversy, but Howe said this won’t happen until the reports are released. Moran feared a lawsuit by result from release and said her role, among others, is to “protect the city.” Howe rejected this reasoning, saying if a lawsuit resulted, so be it.
Malchow questioned releasing the report detailed why Rudat was let go and all the dirty laundry surrounding the move.
The 15 minute discussion and debate with worth watching for the impassioned discussion and debate. The video is below.
An investigation report of suspected malfeasance by Sammamish City Manager David Rudat has been kept from the public by his staff for over three months now.
Multiple public records requests (PRRs) submitted by media outlets and citizens have been delayed because of “legal review.” However, invoices from the law firm handling PRR reviews show a review has not been started in two and a half months.
The Sammamish Comment also learned that City Council members were only given a temporary, staff-supervised limited access to a shortened version of the full report.
Only an 11 page executive summary, prepared by the city staff’s request so as to not disclose confidential information, has been released to the public.
And while the investigation of the City Manager is still pending, the outside attorney in charge of his investigation was hired by the City Manager to represent the City on another case–raising concerns for the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Due to misinformation spread in the community and social media, TheComment is resuming limited coverage of city hall.
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.
After counting 95% of the ballots, Mayor Karen Moran won her re-election in a landslide, winning over 75% of the votes. Moran is also the only candidate in this election crossing the 10,000 vote count.
Also winning, in tight races, were Karen Howe, Kali Clark and Amy Lam.