Communications and Marketing Director

Statement by City of Mill Creek Regarding Communications and Marketing Director, Joni Kirk’s Termination
Posted on 08/06/2019
Notice General In early June, the City of Mill Creek began a workplace investigation triggered in part by an unfair labor practice complaint filed with the Washington Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC).

The City retained a neutral investigator to learn relevant facts and report them to the City. When conducting workplace investigations, the City must protect the rights of all employees who are involved. Employees accused of engaging in inappropriate action must be given a full and fair opportunity to explain their actions and any mitigating reasons. Other relevant witnesses must also be interviewed so that the City has a full understanding of the events before making its decision.

Based on its investigation, the City has taken several remedial steps. First, on July 1, the City reinstated the employee who was the subject of the PERC complaint.

Second, on August 2, the City terminated the employment of its Director of Communications and Marketing, Johanna Kirk. Ms. Kirk was involved in the employment termination decision that led to the PERC complaint. It came to light that she had recorded the termination meeting on her personal cell phone. Ms. Kirk has stated that she did not know Washington law required consent to record and maintains that she did nothing improper. At the same time, she did not disclose the recording to the public records officer when records requests were made.

The City concluded that Ms. Kirk showed poor judgment. The City does not have trust and confidence that she could satisfactorily perform her duties as Director of Communications and Marketing and represent the City’s best interests in a leadership role.

The City continues its investigation and will take all necessary steps to meet its obligation to provide a workplace free from unfair employment practices. Due to ongoing personnel matters, the City will not be commenting further on this matter.