June 22, 1998
Bothell City Manager resigns
by Andrew Walgamott
BOTHELL--Rick Kirkwood resigned his post as Bothell City Manager last Monday night after he and the City Council mutually agreed to sever their employment relationship. Kirkwood's last day was June 15. He had been Bothell's chief administrator for the past three years. The council voted 5-2 to accept Kirkwood's resignation. Councilmembers Jeff Merrill and Jeanne Edwards voted no.
Kirkwood, with his family in the audience, gave a short speech, thanking the various city departments, boards and commissions and the council. Edwards fought back tears while Merrill looked on stern-faced. Reading from a prepared statement, Mayor Debbie Treen called June 15 "a night not many will forget."
Several members of the Bothell Economic Development Partnership wore black arm bands apparently in support of Kirkwood during last Wednesday's meeting. The end had been coming for some time. An ashen-faced Kirkwood had been wandering City Hall for the last couple weeks, carrying an "unspeakable load." Sources close to City Hall who declined to be named said it came down to a matter of trust between the manager and council. After Kirkwood brought in an outside consultant for department reviews, he refused to give the council a copy of the report. Council involvement in the day-to-day operations of City Hall was a campaign issue last fall.
Since news that construction of the new police station would cost the city $1 million more than budgeted, the council had been holding a number of Executive Sessions on personnel matters, culminating with a five-hour meeting June 12. "We've had discussions for awhile," Kirkwood told the Everett Herald. "After boiling it all down, this seemed like the right thing to do."
As part of Kirkwood's severance package, Kirkwood will receive about $55,000. Also, city officials can only tell anyone looking at hiring Kirkwood that he "satisfied the terms of his agreement" and "left employment to pursue other personal and career opportunities." Treen noted that some accomplishments of Kirkwood's included work on planning for the college campuses and moving forward on an in-depth economic development study. The council appointed assistant City Manager Manny Ocampo as the acting manager until an interim is named.
Kirkwood has spent the last 20 years in city management and 23 in public administration. His contract was up June 26. Previously he managed Pismo Beach, California and Roy City, Utah.