“Just Trust Staff” – The Reason for the Questions: City Attorney Cheryl Carlson

A common phrase uttered at council meetings by particular lame duck council members is “we need to just trust our staff.”  Well, that would be nice but, unfortunately when people with little-to-no ethics are in charge you cannot “just trust staff.”

Here is a great example, current city attorney Cheryl Carlson.  She was hired on August 8, 2007 to serve at Deputy City Attorney for a starting salary of $97,236 and was to start on September 17.  Click here to see her hiring letter.  On December 10, 2007, less than three months on the job, she was promoted to Interim City Attorney and her salary was raised to $112,416 a year.

On July 1, 2008 she was promoted again to City Attorney, again with a raise to $126,565 a year.  One year later she received a grade-increase raise to $132,246 a year. 

Here is a timeline of all the events, with all information gained through public records requests.

Click here to see her personnel action forms, outlining each raise.

Now, here’s where it really gets good.  On September 18, 2009 former City Manager Gary McLean gave Carlson a retention bonus for her “extraordinary service” of 168 additional vacation hours in her vacation bank as of that day.  In addition, she will receive another 168 vacation hours on October 15, 2009. 

Wait, I know, you think that’s it. Nope.

On November 15, 2009 she will receive ANOTHER 168 vacation hours! 

So, in three months she received the equivalent of 63 vacation days, or three years worth of vacation days, as her contract allows for 21 days a year.

Click here to see the vacation hour letter.

So, our taxes have gone up, our library hours have been cut, our street problems continue to be ignored, yet the city attorney has gone from $97,236 four years ago to $140,111 and literally hundreds of vacation hours now.

Yes, let’s not ask questions, let’s “just trust the staff.”



Filed under Cheryl Carlson, Finances

4 responses to ““Just Trust Staff” – The Reason for the Questions: City Attorney Cheryl Carlson

  1. Mike Stanzel

    “Finally, it is assumed that employees in the legal department will avoid even the hint of impropriety in the performance of their duties.” THIS COMING FROM MCLEAN????

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha I can’t stand it, I can’t stand it, stop stop, ha ha ha ha ha ha , no, no really, stop ha ha ha ha ha, LOL, quit, stop, ha ha ha ha ha ha, don’t, don’t, LOLm Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha I can’t stand it, I can’t stand it, stop stop, ha ha ha ha ha ha , no, no really, stop ha ha ha ha ha, LOL, quit, stop, ha ha ha ha ha ha, don’t, don’t, LOL

  2. Dave Churchman

    Has anyone else noticed that whenever she is tasked or asked to do anything, she has no immediate answer, she has to go and “google” to find what other cities did or worse still, “law4dummies.com”.
    Those in Puyallup who critize Carlson will be accused of being vengeful.
    But, she was FIRED by the City of Tacoma after she tried to resign after screwing up a major issue there.
    So, she has a track record of incompetence.
    Will Dannenberg do the right thing and fire her too (for excessive futile and misguided litigation) ? I very much doubt it for fear of upsetting the coven.
    City of Puyallup, Corrective and Disciplinary Action, Paragraph 5.2 “For Cause” – line b, “Incompetence”.

  3. Robert Lord

    Mr. McLean hired Ms. Carlson for one reason and one reason only. To do his bidding. After the firing by the city of Tacoma her prospects of gainful imployment were grim and McLean needed a loyal soldier willing to look the other way while he enaged in unethical activities.

    She took to her new role with relish and he rewarded her handsomely. She followed his lead and when citizens questioned his unethical dealings she defended him like a junk yard dog.

    When citizens criticized McLean’s handling of the Stanzil she made the brash statement that a district court’s ruling against McLean’s tactics would be overturned on appeal. She even stated that she gaureenteed a reversal on appeal and then added “It’s a slam dunk that the ruling will be overturned” Well we all now know not to put much stock in what Ms Carlson says. Her word does’nt exactly inspire trust worthiness.

    City Council meeting records abound with her statements of fealty to Mayor Turner. When Mayor Turner’s position on controversial issues before the council were unconvincing, she would turn to Ms. Carlson for her legal opinion on the matter. Ms Carlson would obediantly reply with,”I agree with the Mayor”. Hardly a credible legal response.

    As an officer of the court Ms Carlson does not instill any confidence the she is behaving in an honest manner. The nature of her employment with the city and her role in many ethically questionable issues dealing with city business leads one to wonder how she has been able to hold onto her license to practice law.

  4. john hopkins

    Add in the outsource numbers
    Compare to similar size Cities
    Compare success/failure ratio
    Ask the obvious question

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