Here we go again

Sequim city council unanimously agreed Monday night not to offer a city manager contract to Vernon Stoner and to postpone further discussion of the city manager vacancy until Oct. 5.

Mayor Laura Dubois said councilors are pursuing further information on all the city manager candidates - including Stoner - although Olympia Assistant City Manager Subir Mukerjee no longer is interested.

"We will not make any rash decisions," she said.

"We want further investigation to get the facts. We won't speculate until we get those facts."

The council's next regular meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, in the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

It wasn't clear Monday night whether Stoner

remained a candidate for the city's still-vacant city manager position.

Acting City Manager Craig Ritchie said during the meeting other candidates remained so he and Waldron & Company would get more information on them.

But after the meeting Dubois said they are pursing further information on all the candidates, including Stoner.

Stoner couldn't be reach-ed for comment.

Councilor Walt Schubert said he talked with former Interim City Manager Linda Herzog, who said she would help with the transition but is not interested in the permanent city manager position.

"She has other plans and other things are going on in her life," Schubert said.

"And quite frankly, I think her husband would kill her."

Herzog lives in Quilcene but maintained an apartment in Sequim during her nine-month tenure that started last December.

Ritchie, the city attorney who was appointed interim city manager effective Sept. 3, will continue in that role.

When the 5 p.m. meeting began, Ritchie said he had received an e-mail from Stoner at 3:35 p.m. saying he hadn't been invited to the meeting so he wouldn't attend.

Then Ritchie asked for an executive session to evaluate qualifications of applicants for employment and discuss potential litigation.

The council met only briefly after the 22-minute closed-door session to pass the motion denying a contract offer to Stoner.

Regarding whether Stoner remained a candidate, Dubois said only the city asked Waldron & Company to bring back a contract for the council's review, but that never was done.

So no commitment was made to Stoner, she said.

Stoner has sued his form-er employer, the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner, charging he was fired from his deputy director position in June 2008 because of racial and age discrimination.

Stoner, 61, is African American.

The council voted 6-1 at its Sept. 1 meeting to review a draft city manager contract for Stoner at its Sept. 14 meeting.

That was put on hold following revelations that Stoner had been the target of sexual harassment allegations while deputy director at the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner from April 2008 to June 15, 2009.

That complaint was settled with a $50,000 payment to Shellyne Grisham, who had sought $135,000 in her allegation.

The claim was denied, and the issue now is in Thurston County Superior Court.

Reach Brian Gawley at

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