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Bothell residents ask Mayor Lamb to step down over affair
Several Bothell residents have asked Mark Lamb to resign from his position as Bothell Mayor, claiming his admitted affair has drawn embarrassment to the city and distracted the council from important issues.
A former employee of the North Creek Law Firm, Micaela Mae, 23, is suing the business, Lamb and his wife for wrongful termination and invasion of privacy over the two-year affair between the employee and mayor. Mae filed the civil suit in Snohomish County Superior Court on Oct. 29 seeking unspecified damages for lost wages, future wages and emotional distress.
Lamb admitted to a sexual relationship with the woman in court filings on Nov. 8, but denies most other claims in her suit.
During the Nov. 20 Bothell Council meeting, two residents asked for Lamb's resignation. However, the city did not televise the public comments portion of the meeting because a domestic violence victim requested that the council suspend televising public comments to protect her identity.
Councilman Patrick Ewing asked Lamb if the city could televise the rest of the comments unrelated to the victim. But Lamb denied his request, noting that he was unsure if there were other victims who would come forward to comment.
The Reporter obtained the audio recording of the entire Nov. 20 council meeting through a public records request.During the meeting, Julia Walters Burns, who has lived in Bothell for more than 20 years, addressed the council.
"I'm here tonight to talk a little bit about the events over the last couple of weeks, the impact I think they've had on our town and I ask you to take some action to help accelerate Bothell's ability to move forward," said Burns. "So, Mayor Lamb, my condolences to your wife and your family. I'm sure the current situation must be a big embarrassment to you."
She continued that a public figure has a high level of accountability and responsibility to their constituents.
Addressing Lamb directly, Burns said in the last election, he ran on a platform of family values and community service.
"In light of this, I ask you to honor those commitments to your family and to your community by asking you tonight to either resign or step aside until this case is resolved to avoid any further embarrassment to your family and the population of our city."
She said if Lamb chooses not to step down, she asked the council to "please take it upon yourselves to use whatever means available to you to ask Mr. Lamb to recuse himself from the council and appoint an interim mayor to serve our community to increase both the credibility of the council as well as to reduce the distractions of your important council business."
Burns also asked City Manager Robert Stowe to request an independent review by an outside party of council activity over the last four years.
"This is an important community opportunity to set the record straight as well as to create a clean slate going forward," said Burns. "Bothell is a great city … how you choose to deal with it sets the course for our collective future."
Bothell resident David Hablewitz also commented during the Nov. 20 meeting.
"I believe after a two-year extramarital affair the (mayoral) position has been compromised and I see a lack of judgement that has been sustained and I believe that that will impact the ability to lead our city," said Hablewitz. "I believe that it's an embarrassment to our city in much the same way Gen. (David) Petraeus coincidentally had a very similar experience over the past couple of weeks and I'm asking for a resignation or stepping aside … so that you can focus on those issues and not distract council like we are here tonight on this very topic."
Petraeus served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency until he resigned on Nov. 9 due to public pressure stemming from an affair.
The Reporter has also received two letters from Bothell residents. Steve Collins said Lamb should step down from office, "failing that the city council should remove him from office. And if that fails, a recall would be in order."
Bill Moritz said Lamb's mayoral position is relevant to Mae's civil lawsuit as she claims she attended an overnight council-related trip with Lamb in Olympia.
"All of the news reports and continuing revelations about this extramarital affair have drawn very unfavorable attention to our city," said Moritz. "The right thing for Mr. Lamb to do is resign from the council and spend his time healing with his family. If he is unwilling to resign, then the council should replace him as mayor and elect someone else who can devote his energies to leading our city."Lamb and his attorney declined to comment.
Stowe said the city will not take any measures to remove Lamb from his position or investigate the issue."It's not a matter for the city to be involved in," said Stowe.
He added that expenses for council members' travel "are approved or audited regularly and I have no reason to believe that any of them are inappropriate, so I see no justification for any further action at this time."