Northwest NEWS

June 29, 1998

Front Page

Woodinville officially removes Rainey; search for interim city manager begun


The Woodinville City Manager's parking place was decorated with goodbyes.

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Flowers and teddy bears were placed in a chain link fence in front of the City Manager's parking spot at Woodinville City Hall last Wednesday morning.
   The words "We'll miss you" were written in black ink on a placard attached to the display.
   For the last half of the week, the spot was empty.
   By a vote of 4-3, the City Council officially removed and suspended Roy Rainey from his duties as Woodinville's top official as of 11:59 p.m. June 23.
   It wasn't immediately clear who'd placed the array there. But now the city begins the process of healing.
   Jim Katica, appointed acting city manager by a 4-3 council vote, sent an e-mail to city staffers Wednesday likening City Hall to a ship that has taken several hits below the waterline and is now listing.
   "Let's turn this ship over to the next city manager in better shape," said Katica who is also the city's finance director.
   "Onward and hopefully upward," said another councilmember.
   Mayor Don Brocha also sent an e-mail to city staff asking employees to put their differences behind for the betterment of Woodinville.
   Rainey said he will now go back to his home on Anderson Island near Tacoma where he's been told the fishing has been pretty good.
   This Monday night, the council is expected to consider proposals from companies offering their services to provide an interim City Manager while the search for a permanent manager can be completed.
   Still, Councilman Bob Miller sounded comfortable keeping Katica as the interim.
   "He's got a good head on his shoulders. And he knows the nuts and bolts of the city," Miller said.
   It has been a topsy-turvy month in Woodinville.
   In addition to the well-publicized admissions tax debacle, issues between Rainey and city staff as well as citizen boards and commissions boiled to a head, and a plan to reassign Planning Director Ray Sturtz to a new Human Resources branch was put on hold.
   Rainey, the manager for the past 14 months, was blamed for a list of problems.
   The motion the council adopted to remove Rainey reads, "The council believes the City Manager has demonstrated a lack of courtesy and professionalism to the public that is necessary for the position, and that the City Council has lost its trust and confidence in the City Manager's ability to carry out his duties in a manner satisfactory to the City Council."
   Rainey's supporters vented their anger at last Tuesday's council meeting.
   Usually staid, Miller harangued his fellow members on what the removal will cost Woodinville after the council came out of a two-hour and forty-minute closed-door Executive Session.
   "Any costs we incur means parks don't get built, and roads don't get paved," the former mayor said. Rainey severance package will alone total over $63,000.
   Miller believes that while the council negotiated professionally with former manager Joe Meneghini, no procedures were followed this time. He said the council gave more time to surface water issues and special events than to troubles with Rainey.
   Councilwoman Marsha Engel called the council's action incomplete.
   "We relied on innuendo, rumors, second-hand reports and anonymous letters," Engel said.
   "There's been times in the past two weeks that have made me embarrassed to be a Woodinville City Councilmember. The council failed in its responsibility to the City Manger, the staff and to the whole city," she said.
   Brocha and councilmembers Scott Hageman, Randy Ransom and Carol Bogue voted for removal and suspension.
   They were generally silent on the issue though Bogue said the process the council had been going through wasn't easy and that it had been going on for some time.
   Carter Hawley, assistant city manager who was hired on the first day of cityhood, will take the next four months off as a combination leave of absence and vacation.
   Asked why she wasn't appointed manager, Brocha said left-over feelings on the part of staff might not have allowed her to be as effective as she could've.
   Brocha added that in no way did it reflect on Hawley's abilities.