On Monday evening, the Mukilteo City Council had the opportunity to address Mayor Jennifer Gregerson over her decision to hire state Senator Marko Liias to, presumably among other jobs, write the city’s newsletter. According to the Daily Herald, last month, Council President Randy Lord “told the mayor that he would give her 30 days to consider her options, including asking Liias to resign.” The Monday evening came at the end of Lord’s deadline.
The Council raised the question of whether Liias could “adequately carry out the duties of both roles”—as a state senator and city employee. Lord made his opinion on the matter clear, telling the mayor that he “doesn’t doubt that Liias could do a good job either in his role with the city or as a state senator, but not both.” Gregerson continued to insist the Liias was “the best candidate for the job.”
To many onlookers, Gregerson’s hiring of Liias reeks of cronyism. It is no secret that the two are long-time “political allies.” Attempting to combat the court of public opinion’s view on the matter, Gregerson produced a document that outlined the decision-making process to hire Liias for the benefit of the Council. The concluding statement of Gregerson’s document informs the Council that, in the end, “the responsibility to hire, evaluate and fire employees is mine.”
Councilmember Ted Wheeler attempted to involve Liias, who was in the audience, in the debate. He asked if Liias “wanted to take the opportunity to say anything in response.” However, Gregerson quickly jumped to his defense declaring that “she didn’t want city employees called before council to defend their jobs, but Liias could respond to any questions the council might have.” In the end, no questions were asked of Liias. He later stated,
“We’re getting some good things done on behalf of the council and for the people… I’m really thrilled to work for the city and I’m grateful the mayor gave me the opportunity to join the team.”
Liias has been on the job since May. Earlier this month, SHIFT offered readers a look into his work thus far. If your curious of the all “good things done” in Mukilteo as a result of cronyism, check out our story here.