Ex-SeaTac department head files termination suit against city

Former SeaTac Community and Economic Development director Cindy Baker has filed a Civil Rights lawsuit against the city.

She was let go by the city after an internal investigation concluded she was a poor manager and often berated employees.

The suit in Western Washington District Court names as defendants City Manager Todd Cutts and City Council members Barry Ladenburg, Rick Forschler, Terry Anderson, Tony Anderson, Dave Bush, Pam Fernald and Mia Gregerson.

Baker was hired to manage consolidated departments after the departure of community development director Steve Butler. Butler took a job as community development director in Mill Creek but has since left that position. He was criticized as anti-business.

Here is our coverage from January 2011 when Baker was first named to head the consolidated department:

The City of SeaTac has announced the selection of Cindy Baker to become the first director of the newly formed Department of Community and Economic Development.

Baker has been serving as the city’s interim planning director.
The position was created to direct the new department, which has the objective of streamlining the city's permitting process and helping to facilitate and expedite new building and economic development projects. The new department includes five divisions: economic development, planning, engineering development review, building services; and permit center.

Baker has both private and public sector experience and has worked in the cities of Auburn and Woodinville as well as King and Kitsap counties.

"Cindy brings a wide breadth of experience and technical expertise to this new position," said Todd Cutts, interim city manager. "Her background in all of the pertinent disciplines will be a great asset to the city as we move forward with this important reorganization effort. She has demonstrated the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with citizens and developers alike during her many years in the profession. Cindy will be working with an experienced and dedicated group of professionals and I am certain that together they will make the city a better, more effective place to undertake future development activities."

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