City of Edmonds public information officer resigns

Jamie Holter

After nine months serving as the City of Edmonds’ public information officer, Jamie Holter has resigned.

Holter — who has worked in state and county communications for more than 15 years — was hired in March to fill the newly created position of half-time public information officer/communications strategist. Her last day was Dec. 16.

That position was identified as a key priority for the mayor and city council when they added the job in the city’s 2020 budget, but Holter said that recent issues — including the controversy surrounding the hiring of the new Edmonds police chief — made it increasingly difficult to do her job.

“The role of a government communicator is to be the bridge between the city and the public about government issues – especially complex government issues –  to explain, to clarify, to listen and reflect back what we hear from the community, and identify areas where we are falling short in communication and share that with leadership so we can do better,” she said.

“The police chief process was messy from beginning to end,” Holter added. “I feel for Chief Pruitt, Assistant Chief Lawless, the Edmonds Police Department and the community. There are no winners here.”

Holter said she “had no part in the communication of the chief selection process. I learned what was happening when press releases ended up in my inbox just like MEN,” Holter said, adding that “the mayor declined to communicate with me and that made it very difficult to do my job.”

Edmonds Economic Development and Community Services Director Patrick Doherty said the city will conduct a search in early 2021 to fill the public information position. He said that Holter “has been very helpful to us in tackling the flurry of communications needs we’ve seen during the pandemic, as well as starting up new initiatives such as the city newsletter, blog and helping make the mayor’s new neighborhood meetings initiative come to fruition. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

 

22 Replies to “City of Edmonds public information officer resigns”

  1. A house of cards. At what point does the mayor hold a press conference and own his mistakes? At what point does the four councilmembers who rammed this through own their mistakes? Mistakes happen. But when that is followed by deflection and silence that speaks to ego.

    “the mayor declined to communicate with me and that made it very difficult to do my job.” – Very telling. He’s made it difficult for the citizens of Edmonds to understand why he’s still in his job and hasn’t stepped down (or the other 4 collaborators for that matter).

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  2. Interesting you of all people would make that comparison. You and the ‘gentleman’ below have been engaged in a smear campaign since the candidate you wanted – both for police chief AND mayor – didn’t get through. That feels even MORE like what’s been happening out of the White House.

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    1. Sam, it wasn’t a smear campaign, It was holding elected leadership in edmonds accountable to actually do their jobs which means a thorough background check and getting all of the information before ramming the decision through. And then actually owning their mistake and not blaming residents.

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  3. Sorry to lose her, she looked like she was a welcome addition( thank you for your service to the community). this does not look well for the Edmonds leadership, when you hear what she said about what she experienced. Come on Edmonds, let’s have solid leadership, direction & goals.

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    1. You can’t give what you don’t have the mayor is showing he has no leadership ability. If he is a morally sound person he will resign. Time will tell it will be very interesting to see what He is made of. What has been shown is he can’t Stonewall or Bluff his way through what’s going on. If you really have the best interest of Edmonds and it’s fantastic citizens please resign and leave us room to still like you in the process.

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  4. I met Jamie once a few months ago and was quite impressed. A smart and seasoned professional, experienced in local government. And she’s got savvy. But no PIO can be effective in an environment where they are systematically ignored by executive leadership. Her decision to leave is entirely understandable.

    If Mayor Nelson had made use of her talents and taken some of her advice, I’m confident Edmonds would not be this deep in civic crisis.

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  5. “‘I learned what was happening when press releases ended up in my inbox just like MEN,’ Holter said.”

    I’m curious who in Edmonds government sends out press releases, if not the Public Information Officer?

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    1. Thank you for your service Jamie. In this situation you were given an impossible task with those you relied on being uncooperative. You were a professional on a team of amateurs.

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    1. Why would Edmonds citizens put up with this? Mayor Nelson and Adrienne the Council President have consistently shown poor judgement, lack of leadership, and that they are unqualified for their positions. The Edmonds voters are to blame for being hoodwinked into thinking they have their best interests. It’s obvious their agenda is about listening to the vocal minority and making impulsive risky moves with no accountability. Wake up Edmonds and demand they resign.

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  6. Sorry to see you go Ms. Holter. It sounds like a job that no one could be successful doing.

    At least now we understand that the Mayor’s response was his own. The blaming and arrogance are him talking and not someone else.

    It’s unfortunate we have the good people leaving and the Mayor and 4 councilmembers just won’t. But we won’t stop asking! Mayor and 4 councilmembers please resign.

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  7. Jamie Holter-a good egg surrounded by a bunch of Humpty Dumpty’s. Sadly, you folks don’t know what you missed out on with her departure.

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  8. This is a failure from the top down. There should be central control of press releases. There should be review and alignment across groups. We should not lose good people because of bad central management. In the change management business and organizational design, role design and scope are the first things that any new leadership defines and understands. I suppose there were more pressing social issues that needed to be remedied versus aligning the internal team, what they do process wise, and how they execute as a City.

    Another costly learning experience.

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  9. I realize I might as well be whistling Dixie, but I’ve observed this city government of a strong mayor either trying to run over or manipulate overwhelmed part time council people and citizen boards since 1961 (mayors used to be part time too). It isn’t going to change without changing it. Will another system be perfect? Of course not, but when you have a system where one person has almost unilateral power to hire and fire almost any employee in town or select preferred persons to boards and commissions, you are going to attract ego oriented people who want to control everything as much as possible. Human nature is human nature and personality traits are real. Ask any jury trial lawyer about that.

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  10. My question is when do we start the Recall process? It is clear to me that they knew exactly what they where doing both mayor Nelson and the council. If they do not resign then I think we need to seriously look into a recall.

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  11. Another one bites the dust! People want to work in a non-toxic environment not an environment loaded with political activism and lack of leadership. Another employee seeing the writing on the wall!

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