MOSES LAKE - Moses Lake City Manager John Williams has resigned, effective Tuesday, amid at least six claims for damages against the city.
The city council approved a settlement agreement release and announced his decision following an about 20-minute executive session during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Moses Lake police Chief Kevin Fuhr will remain active city manager.
Williams was hired as city manager in 2015.
“John has enjoyed his time as City Manager, but has decided that he wants to pursue other opportunities,” the city council stated in a press release following the meeting. “He remains committed to ensuring a smooth transition of his responsibilities as City Manager and plans to continue working in cooperate with the City to ensure that there will be no interruption of any City operations for the citizens of Moses Lake. John enjoyed working with the community and city staff in Moses Lake and wishes everyone the best. The City thanks John for his service.”
The city is facing at least six claims for damages from former and current female employees, with accusations including sexual harassment, discrimination, abuse of power and an overall “hostile” work environment.
“We are encouraged by the positive moves being made by the city to correct the culture that has led to such poor working conditions for our clients and many others. We know this action will be very meaningful to them,” stated Corbin Earl of the Earl Law Group, representing the claimants. “These women have already walked a hard and lonely road. None of us can quite imagine what they have been through unless you've lived through something similar. We are hopeful for future changes that will continue down this positive path.”
Williams, along with former Community Development Director Gilbert Alvarado, are both named and are the focus of the claims. Alvarado resigned in late April, days before the first three claims were filed against the city. City Attorney Katherine Kenison previously said the city had already opened an internal review of some allegations prior to Alvarado’s resignation.
The city’s review of the claims for damages is ongoing.