Updated with a response from Kimberly Cole’s attorney
The City of Edmonds on Wednesday released an 18-page report of an independent investigation into claims by Kimberly Cole, the former executive assistant to ex-Mayor Mike Cooper, that she faced a hostile work environment and harassment while on the job.
A news release from Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling’s office that accompanied the report noted that “of the 14 separate allegations raised by Cole, all but two and part of a third were either unfounded, not sustained, or if the facts were sustained, they did not constitute or suggest harassment.” You can read the complete report here.
The report was prepared by independent investigator Jim Webber, who was retained by the City’s WCIA-appointed counsel, and attorney Mark Bucklin of Keating, Bucklin & McCormack. (WCIA stands for Washington Cities Insurance Authority, the liability insurance pool the city belongs to, and Bucklin is the organization’s general counsel.)
The Cole investigation was one of two recent employment-related investigations involving former city employees, Earling’s office said. The other investigation involved former Edmonds Human Resources Director Debi Humann’s claim of retaliation by Cooper, which was investigated by a different person and did not result in a written report.
After My Edmonds News alerted Cole about the report, her attorney, James Spencer, offered the following comment:
“It is disappointing that for the second time Mayor Earling has used his recently-acquired public position, and taxpayer resources, to publicly address Ms. Cole’s unfortunate experiences as an employee at the City of Edmonds. Even more disappointing is that the City has thus far failed to provide the report to Ms. Cole or her attorneys, even after they requested a copy of the report in December. The publication of the report today by MyEdmondsNews.com was the first time Ms. Cole or her attorneys have had the privilege of seeing the conclusions reached by the investigator hired by the City.
It can be no surprise that the report generated by the City of Edmonds and its attorneys, very obviously in anticipation of litigation by Ms. Cole and likely subject to public disclosure, would reach the convenient conclusion that the actions and inactions of those in Ms. Cole’s work environment didn’t subject the City to any liability.”
Because Ms. Cole and her attorneys have been denied access to this document previously, neither she nor her attorneys have anything further to offer at this time.
James W. Spencer, Esq.