Former Burien City Manager Mike Martin part of $900,000 lawsuit settlement

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Mike Martin stands in front of a satellite image of Burien during his tenure as City Manager in 2009. Photo by Michael Brunk.

By Jack Mayne

The City Council in the Whatcom County town of Lynden has voted 7-0 for a $900,000 settlement of a 2016 lawsuit claiming age and gender discrimination against three former longtime city employees by former Burien City Manager Michael Martin and elected Lynden Mayor Scott Korthius.

The Feb. 20 vote ended the case against current Lynden City Administrtor Martin and the city’s elected full-time mayor.

Martin quit as Burien City Manager in 2013 and went to the farming community of Lynden in eastern Whatcom County just five miles from the Canadian border.

The settlement says former Lynden Planning Director Amy Harksell will get $465,750, former Finance Director Teresa Camfield will get $240,750 and former Human Services Manager Linda Peterson will get $193,500. The three women must pay their attorney fees from the awarded amounts.

Reluctant Councilmember
One Lynden Councilmember, Brent Lanssen was he was “reluctant” to support the discrimination settlement, and said he wanted to know how the city intents to avoid a repeat of such litigtion.

Lanssen told the Lynden Tribune he was “disappointed in them for not apologizing more for their part in bringing on the lawsuit of former employees…”

Left in 2013
Martin had his problems in Burien when in 2009 he was granted a deferred prosecution on a DUI charge (driving under the influence) by King County District Court Judge Eileen Kato. Martin, then 55, had to complete a two-year alcohol treatment program remained on probation and under court supervision for five years.

He also faced community resistence when he was instrumental in opting out of the city’s contract with King County Animal Control and the formation of CARES.

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