LETTER: Poor evaluations?

To the Editor of the Westside Weekly
The October 14, 2016 edition of your newspaper ran a peculiar item titled “Mystery at Burien City Hall-A mini-series”.  It is unclear whether this is a factual news reporting article or an editorial opinion.  It raises questions about why so many department heads have left City Hall.  The only individual that can answer that question is the City Manager and it appears he was not contacted for comment.  In City Manager run cities, like Burien, the person who controls hiring, management, evaluation and firing of staff is the City Manager.  The Council has no direct control of staff.
The only person the Council can hire or fire staff is the City Manager.  If the climate is/was toxic at City Hall, the City Manager is/was responsible for managing that.  This article seems to suggest that the Council manages City Staff.  Not true and it would be wrong to expect the Mayor to comment on staff issues.

I attend and watch Council meetings regularly and never recall hearing the Mayor publically calling for Gurol’s dismissal in 2015.
Also, this article uses terms to describe Mr. Gurol in a positive light with a fine pedigree; whatever that implies.  However, if there were staff management and retention problems, the responsibility was with Mr. Gurol.  This may explain his poor evaluations by the majority of the Council and why his contract was terminated.
R. Howell

Dear R. Howell,
The editorial was deliberately sketchy because no one at city hall would respond to requests for comment. We attempted to contact many city council members including the mayor. We contacted Mr. Gurol, who declined to comment.
Now, more than a week later, they still have not responded.
You are correct in your assessment of the responsibility of the city manager and that of the council. We believe it is the duty of the elected officials to let the community know why significant changes have been made at city hall where the business of the city is concerned.
Because we could get no one to go on the record for publication, we could only speculate in view of the absence of any managerial leadership. Sources close to but outside of both elective office and appointed office have told us what they believe are the reasons Mr. Gurol was fired. And why several others left.
We cannot deal in hearsay and therefore continue to probe the reasons why the council thought these changes were necessary.
Thanks for writing.
Ken Robinson

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