MONTESANO, Wash. – There might not be a hostile work environment in the Public Works Department at the city of Montesano, but an investigation has revealed favoritism, unprofessional behavior, and inappropriate communication.
The Montesano city council approved expenses of $20,000 to look into the allegations after an employee filed the complaint with the union in September. A separate incident was investigated regarding one employee allegedly slamming the bucket of the city’s backhoe to the ground with the intent of intimidating another employee. Montesano Mayor Ken Estes said this week “It’s one of those regrettable things that happened between employees, and the city had to make a decision on what to do. The decision was made to investigate.
Information obtained through a public records request show that over 16 current and former city employees were interviewed. The investigator said in both cases there was not enough evidence to prove either allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. He noted that several employees involved were in supervisory roles, and did nothing to try to resolve the issues or protect employees, other than circle the wagons during the investigation.