Asst. city manager Lindell is fired

Assistant city manager and former city attorney, Londi Lindell has been let go. She is the second high profile employee to leave the city in the last two months.

City manager Rich Conrad confirmed that Lindell was terminated by the city, but was unable to comment further on the circumstances surrounding the action.

“The city and Londi have parted company,” Conrad said. “Beyond that, it is not our practice to discuss the details regarding the employment of individual employees here.”

Conrad said that it is business as usual for the city. “I continue to be confident that the city will continue to deliver the services the people here have come to expect.”

Mayor Jim Pearman stated the actions taken by city manager Rich Conrad are part of his job as the city’s chief executive.

“It is [Conrad’s] job to run the city,” Pearman said. “It is very common that personnel don’t work out. Everything is under control. This is just a management change that occurred, and it is not interfering with the professional manner of how we run the city.”

Bob Sterbank, hired as city attorney just a year ago, also left the city under puzzling circumstances.

Neither Lindell nor Sterbank, both attorneys, would speak on the record to the Reporter.

Reached by phone, Lindell said she was unable to comment because she is considering suing the city for her loss of employment. The Reporter has submitted public records requests regarding the circumstances of the recent departures of both individuals.

In February, Sterbank left the city for a position with a Issaquah-based law firm after serving about a year on the Island. But the city paid Sterbank $70,000 when he left. Mayor Pearman acknowledged the settlement and said using the city’s insurance funds for such situations were common.

“For settlements, the Washington Cities Insurance Association deals with those,” Pearman said. “For such a high-level person leaving or a staff change like this, that is very common.”

Conrad explained that such settlements are to protect the city from any future claims and that the $70,000 was in excess of the usual four months’ salary paid as severance.

Pearman stated that he did not think the two recent staff changes were connected.

Linda Herzog, who works as the city’s special consultant on various issues such as the Renton Airport, is currently serving as the deputy city manager position vacated by Lindell. City prosecutor Katie Knight has been serving as the interim city attorney since Sterbank’s departure. The city also has a law school intern assisting Knight.

Lindell served as the city attorney for the Island since 2000 after working in Federal Way as an assistant city manager. She was promoted to the deputy city manager position here in late 2006.

Pearman said that despite Lindell’s departure, there was no “ill will” felt toward her.

“Sometimes a management change needs to be made and those can be difficult circumstances when those changes are made,” Pearman said. “The city will continue to run efficiently and provide excellent service to its citizens.”

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