Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ahhhh.... Reliving the Russell - Bivens debacle.

One of the many reasons to vote for anyone else besides Jon Russell is his genetic inability to take responsibility for any of the train wreck that is Washougal City Government.

Apparently emasculated by Stacy Sellers disastrous reign, Russell was unable to do anything but go along with the alleged dictates of Ms. Sellers, which to hear Russell tell it, included requiring the city check book review to be signed off on without having been seen.

The result? $100,000 vaporized, and the hiring of an "unhirable" city finance director who was given a $45,835 check to leave.

• JEFFREY BIVENS, former Washougal finance director

Severance: Five months pay, payment for accrued vacation and reimbursed for payment of bond insurance.

Total cost: $45,835

Taking it a step further: This all happened on Russell's watch... with, of course, no responsibility to Russell.
Washougal’s ‘anomaly’

In Washougal, the firing of and subsequent settlement payment for Finance Director Jeffrey Bivens also caused a stir.

Bivens was the highest-paid employee at the time of his termination in December because the city had not yet replaced former City Administrator Nabiel Shawa, who quit in October.

Bivens’ contract entitled him to receive three months’ pay if he was fired with cause and six months’ pay if he was fired without cause. Bivens was to be paid a severance even if he was fired for misconduct.

Bivens, a former city councilman who only worked as finance director for seven months, was paid a $45,835 settlement, equal to five months’ pay. The city and Bivens could not come to an agreement as to whether Bivens was fired with or without cause, which is why the severance did not follow the stipulations of the contract. Bivens was terminated after he could not obtain a fidelity bond required by the city due to having his law license suspended.

Guard, who was not mayor when Bivens was hired, said Bivens’ contract did not follow the city’s department head manual, which outlines severance packages for all department heads and the city administrator.

“His was an anomaly that shouldn’t have happened,” Guard said. “Why would you pay someone who was fired for cause?”

When the city hired its current city administrator, David Scott, officials reverted back to the manual, Guard said. Scott will receive severance pay if he is fired or asked to resign and receives nothing if he is fired for misconduct or dereliction of duties.

“Everything in David’s contract goes back to the department head manual,” Guard said. “And that’s the way it should be. … Everyone we hire from here on out will do the same thing.”

You see, this debacle, along with the as-yet unfound $100,000 and the signed-off on expense reports of Ms. Sellers and Mr. Bivens on "city business" in Vegas do tend to show something of a pattern of incompetence, misfeasance (Or is it malfeasance? I always get them mixed up) on Mr. Russell's part.

What it doesn't show is any compelling reason to vote for him.

Does it?


  1. If I remember right, Jon approved of both Bivens being appointed to the council and appointed as finance manager.