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Union: City Admin. Grayum creates a “Hostile Work Environment,”
Sexual harassment, discrimination alleged by several women,
Mr. Foster has not done enough to address this: Union!

MG
City Administrator Michael Grayum
Photo: City of Yelm

Union asks Mayor Foster investigate allegations against City Admin. Grayum

+ Mayor Foster and the Yelm City Council received a formal, written request Friday afternoon from Hannah Hollander, Staff Representative for the Washington State Council of County and City Employees (Council 2, AFSCME, AFL-CIO), requesting the mayor initiate “a third-party investigation into several claims of sexual harassment and discrimination by an employee in executive leadership.”

+ Ms. Hollander identified that employee as City Administrator Michael Grayum.

+ Hollander added, “This is a very serious situation and we sincerely hope to have your support in prioritizing this request.”

+ Ms. Hollander also wrote a letter specifically to Mayor Foster and said: “The Union hereby requests that the City of Yelm conduct a through and legitimate investigation by utilizing an outside consultant. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, and that not enough was done to address the situation, we feel the need to let more people at the City know what has been going on so that the complaints can be thoroughly and promptly investigated and that we can be assured that prompt and effective action is being taken to eliminate further sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.”

+ The letter to Mayor Foster noted the Union is “now hearing reports that several women feel they were being discriminated against by Mr. Grayum, that they felt they were being harassed and working under a Hostile Work Environment.

  • Editor’s note: The Union clearly wants this situation to be fully publicized, so that Mayor Foster takes appropriate and immediate action, rather continuing his perfunctory attention to such a serious matter.

Click here for page one of the Union’s letter to Mayor Foster,

Click here for page two.

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  • Mayor Foster should convene an emergency city council session as soon as possible, since the council does not meet again until September 28th. Mr. Grayum needs to be placed on Administrative Leave immediately and until a third party investigation has been completed. Foster will need to appoint an interim city administrator. This requires full transparency to maintain public confidence in the city’s functions with the impending mayoral change at year’s end. No Executive Sessions behind closed doors! Full disclosure is required, as nothing less is acceptable for public trust!
  • With the Staff Representative for the Washington State Council of County and City Employees sending this request, this IS indeed very serious, and demands full accountability.
  • This may be the most challenging situation Foster will have to address as mayor, and one that has the potential to leave a lasting impact on his legacy, based on how he addresses this situation.

BOTTOM LINE:

+ A previous executive leader (Finance Director Joe Wolfe) was placed on Administrative Leave when City Administrator Michael Grayum informed the city council on May 14, 2019, that he had become the acting Finance Director, with no reason to the public then provided, as reported on this blog. The independent investigation was inconclusive. Wolfe was suggested to leave city employment prior to the investigation being completed.

+ Losing the daily responsibilities of the city administrator during an investigation is detrimental to city operations.

+ The Mayor and city council should consider hiring a public relations firm to handle a coming media barrage. The last major crisis for the city occurred in 2004, when the council banned the public from mentioning the words “Big Box Stores” or Wal-Mart” in their meetings, bringing worldwide media attention and the ACLU to town. Mayor Adam Rivas did not have the experience necessary to properly handle the media, which became a public relations disaster.

+ This is a very vulnerable time for city management, with recent realignments of departments and an excessive turnover in staff, as reported on this blog May 11, 2021.

+ And a new mayor will be elected in November.

+ Yelm government is on the threshold of a crisis!

Posted by Steve on September 18, 2021 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

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2 comments

  1. It’s unfortunate that this behavior has gone on for decades and men particularly, but not always, assumed that this type (sexual) behavior was acceptable.

    Comment by Carlos Perez on September 18, 2021 at 9:38 pm

  2. What is also unfortunate is that Yelm has a mayor that did not take immediate steps to PROPERLY investigate these allegations via in independent investigator, and immediately place Mr. Grayum on Administrative Leave. I feel for the staff that are involved that still work at city hall! I also am sympathetic to those that felt they had to leave city employment due to a “Hostile Work Environment.” That Mr. Foster allowed this to fester after being contacted multiple times by the Union has placed city government in an impending, major crisis. No other way to slice it!

    Comment by Steve on September 19, 2021 at 8:41 am

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