The attorney for Kim Cole, Mayor Mike Cooper’s former executive assistant and a current member of the Lynnwood City Council, has released a statement on Cole’s behalf regarding her resignation, stating she faced a “hostile work environment created by certain employees in the City of Edmonds.”
Cole resigned her position Sept. 22 but noted in an email to My Edmonds News that she was under instruction from her attorney not to comment further. On Friday, Attorney James W. Spencer issued the following statement, adding that Cole “will elect when and where to make her side of this story public.”
“Kimberly Cole sought our services to address the hostile work environment created by certain employees of the City of Edmonds. Unfortunately, satisfactory resolution was not to be had, and Ms. Cole made the very personal decision to resign her position as Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Edmonds on September 22, 2011. Throughout her public career, Ms. Cole has championed transparency in government. While she is currently unable to comment on the circumstances that led to her resignation, she is confident that the truth will become public in due course.”
The attorney’s statement also had some pointed comments for the news media, which we are reprinting because we believe that full disclosure is important regarding this issue:
“While we respect the media’s interest in this story, it is our hope that the media will responsibly report on this matter. Even in today’s instant news environment, legitimate press has an ethical obligation to exercise due diligence in researching facts rather than taking as gospel the misleading statements of individuals that may have a political or personal agenda. We encourage the media to craft its language carefully, paying attention to terms that are not really interchangeable. “Whistleblower investigation”, for example, is not a proper substitute in this storyline for “routine state audit”.
Media reports on this matter have run the panoply from thoughtfully-researched reporting to unsubstantiated rumors backed by “anonymous” resources. We thank those in the media who have acted responsibly, and remind those that have not that continued mischaracterization of the nature of this matter has the potential of irresponsibly portraying public individuals in a negative light. A long and historic body of law protects the free speech of individuals and the press, but holds both accountable when that freedom impinges on the freedom of another. We are confident that all those involved in publicly airing this story will strive not to defame any of its individual players.”