March 15, 2022: The Sammamish City Council owes its citizens a full and transparent accounting of the Dave Rudat mess. In fact, there is an overriding public interest to do so.
There is a cover-up that is keeping all the sordid details out of public view. The Settlement Agreement approved on a 4-2 vote in which Rudat, the City Manager, receives an estimated $300,000 golden parachute raises questions whether the council entered into the agreement to cover up charges by Rudat’s supporters of malfeasance on the part of most of the previous council. Six of the seven members of the previous council—Christie Malchow, Chris Ross, Ken Gamblin, Kent Treen, Pam Stuart, and Tom Odell—deny the accusations. Karen Moran did not respond to Sammamish Comment’s inquiry.
Malchow, who was deputy mayor when the investigation of Rudat began and one of its chief supporters, is now mayor. She has mishandled this entire affair. The object of scathing criticism during the probe, fellow council members said she chickened out when it came to the first vote in November whether to fire Rudat or suspend him. Bowing to criticism, fellow council members said she counted the votes and realized she would not prevail—so rather than vote to fire Rudat, she supported suspension instead.
Malchow said the information presented to the council only supported the suspension.
But how is the public to know? The Sammamish taxpayers funded the hiring of two outside counsels to conduct the investigation and another to represent three minority council members who opposed the probe from the start. The total cost has not been tallied, but it is certainly in the tens of thousands of dollars, as the investigator alone charged the city more than $30,000, the agreement shows
Sammamish yesterday refuted allegations by former city employee Sarah Hawes Kimsey that Sammamish Comment reporting about concurrency traffic modeling was inaccurate.
Jeff Elekes, the public works director, wrote Kimsey asking for a correction to her blog in which she used an email from Transportation Planner Doug McIntyre to assert Sammamish Comment and Miki Mullor lied about how the city’s transportation model had been manipulated up to 2017 and beyond.
“…[Y]ou re-printed an email from a Transportation Planner on my team, Doug McIntyre,” Elekes wrote. “Both Doug and I are were very surprised to learn how his email to you was used and promoted in your blog.”
Elekes said, essentially, that Kimsey mischaracterized the traffic audit as a traffic modeling analysis to conclude there had been no manipulation in the past.
“However, I can confirm that Sammamish’s traffic modeling data under previous administrations has been manipulated in the past in favor of development,” Elekes wrote. “This has all been clearly documented through discovery and analysis. I am writing you now to set the record straight and give you the facts, which I expect you will use to correct your blog post.”
In a wild and chaotic meeting Tuesday, dealing with the city manager’s position, concurrency and development the Town Center, it became clear the business of Sammamish is done behind closed doors and that developers’ influence is running strong.