The strange case of the Larson “investigation”

Tim Larson

When Tim Larson, the Sammamish communications manager, was sent home on paid Administrative Leave, his boss, City Manager Lyman Howard wrote in a memo he was under “investigation.”

Larson had to make himself available for any questions related to the investigation, Howard wrote.

Larson resigned Sept. 26. The resignation was announced by Howard to the City Council and staff in a benign email that didn’t list any reason. Howard expressed good wishes.

Sammamish Comment obtained a copy of Howard’s August memo, which was released through a public records request (PRR), and submitted a PRR for the investigation report and supporting documents following Larson’s resignation.

Two months later, the City Clerk’s office responded, “At the time of your request there was no investigation.” This appears to be parsing words. Taken literally, this means that on the date of the PRR, there was no investigation. It does not, read literally, address any previous investigation that may have existed.

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Larson resigns as Sammamish Communications Manager, was under investigation

Tim Larson

Tim Larson, the Sammamish Communications Manager, resigned today, three Council Members confirmed to Sammamish Comment.

He had been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 24, under investigation for reason(s) that have not been revealed.

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Council returns Sept. 5 to take up traffic, concurrency

  • This is six pages when printed.

Lyman Howard. Source: Google images.

The Sammamish City Council returns Sept. 5 from its August recess with traffic and concurrency the No. 1 priority and the No. 1 item on the agenda.

City Manager Lyman Howard will present a proposal to establish a “roadmap” going forward to take a top-to-bottom look at how the City implements traffic concurrency policies and testing that are required before development can be approved.

Controversial study prompts review

The review is the outgrowth of a controversial study by a Sammamish citizen, Miki Mullor, who concluded the City Staff had manipulated data to approve development. After a de facto moratorium brought on by the 2008 Global Recession, an improving economy and capital liquidity enabled a major spurt of growth that saw wholesale tree removal and increased traffic congestion over a few years beginning about 2014.

Mullor’s study contained incendiary charges that prompted Howard to label it “inaccurate” and “deeply offensive” at the June 6 Council meeting, the day after Mullor emailed the study to the City. Howard suggested later at the same meeting that Staff would answer questions raised by the study and from the Council.

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The inside story of how traffic and concurrency became “the No. 1 issue in Sammamish:” failure, success of government

Update, July 25, 2017: The reporter for the Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter has been transferred to sister papers in the Bothell-Kenmore area.

A Special Report

This is seven pages when printed.

By Scott Hamilton


Traffic and concurrency in Sammamish is a classic example of failure, and success, in government. It’s a glaring failure of the local newspaper.

It’s a success story of how a single citizen forced debate on an issue that even determined City Council members could not.

Here is the back-story of how traffic and concurrency became “the No. 1 priority in Sammamish.” A sequential history is necessary before we get to the punch line.

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City Council, in rebuke of Administration, staff, consultants, votes in-depth review of traffic

  • “This is the No. 1 priority of Sammamish citizens.”–Tom Hornish.
  • City’s road program has been to “urbanize” streets, not ease congestion.
  • Administration attempted to discredit Mullor study.
  • Mullor credited with starting important conversation by Council Members.

In what can only be regarded as a searing rebuke of the City Manager, City Staff and outside transportation consultants, the Sammamish City Council voted 6-1 July 18 to pursue an in-depth review of transportation policies.

The Council also agreed to have discussions at every Council meeting in the foreseeable future.

Mayor Bob Keller was the dissenting vote.

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