The city of Puyallup has agreed to pay its former library director a $58,000 settlement, avoiding a potential wrongful termination lawsuit.
Tim Wadham was fired Feb. 9 for problems related to his job performance, according to the city.
City Manager Kevin Yamamoto wrote Wadham a termination letter three days before the director was fired citing examples of “poor judgment and discretion,” according to personnel documents obtained by The News Tribune.
His actions included an apparent retaliatory performance review of another employee, “poor communication” with a News Tribune reporter and improperly appointing an employee to address security concerns at the library, according to the documents.
Wadham denied those claims and later accused the city of wrongful termination, threatening a lawsuit. He argued the reasons for his firing were directly related to his Asperger’s syndrome, which he was diagnosed with in October. He also claimed the city failed to accommodate his disorder.
Many of the problems outlined in Wadham’s personnel records, including the termination letter, related to interpersonal interactions and communication, skills often affected by Asperger’s.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Puyallup City Council agreed to the terms of the settlement.
As part of the agreement signed Tuesday, Wadham can’t pursue any claims against the city or say anything false or malicious about city officials. Likewise, city officials can’t disparage Wadham, according to the agreement.
Wadham’s attorney, Clemencia Castro-Woolery of the Ledger Square Law firm, couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
Mayor John Knutsen said Tuesday he supports Yamamoto’s decision to fire Wadham.
“This is one of the saddest things we’ve had to deal with,” he said at the meeting. “I support the city manager’s actions in this matter.”
Councilwoman Heather Shadko stressed that Wadham made a positive contribution to the library during his three years as director.
“Mr. Wadham brought exciting things to this community,” she said.
Wadham earned a salary of $89,664.
The abrupt firing of Wadham earlier this year caused shock and anger among some members of the community. Library Board chairman Troy Kehm-Goins resigned at a public meeting immediately after the decision was made.