Montesano residents pack city council meeting, outraged over Burke firing

MONTESANO, Wash. – The Montesano city council meeting last night was again moved to the upstairs community room. For the third meeting in a row attendance was over 100, some carried signs and chanted for the rehiring of former Public Works Lead Russ Burke. Others demanded the resignation of Mayor Ken Estes, and City Administrator Kristy Powell.
A statement regarding Burke’s firing was distributed to everyone in attendance, Mayor Estes summarized the city’s stance on our station weeks ago “We have some ongoing investigations in the city, and we’ve been directed by our attorneys that in fairness to all employees, the administration shall not comment on any ongoing investigations until the time the investigation is complete.
Estes last night answered criticism that Powell had been deemed “too important to the city” to be placed on paid administrative leave while a sexual harassment allegation against her was investigated, saying that the city would look into hiring up to three others to perform her combined duties.
The city has been on their heels for months in the wake of several investigations mostly regarding public works department staff, Estes assured voters “Believe it or not, I think within 30 or 60 days this will all be done.
The city fired Public Works Lead Russ Burke earlier this month over allegations involving missing paint for striping city streets, and Mr Burke’s street striping business.