Friday Editorial

Peterson Responds to Firing, Republican Senator Threatens "More Heads Are Going to Roll"

Class act versus crass act.

By Josh Feit February 5, 2016

After the state senate Republicans fired Washington Department of Transportation head Lynn Peterson this afternoon, Peterson sent an email to her staff while Republican state senator Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane), who testified on the senate floor that Peterson wasn't capable of leading the agency, sent out a chest thumping tweet to his followers.

Class Act:

From: Peterson, Lynn
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2016 5:00 PM
Subject: This afternoon’s legislative Senate floor debate and next steps

Earlier today, the Senate had a floor debate on the Governor’s nomination for me to serve as the Secretary of Transportation. After a lengthy debate, the Senate concluded with an action to remove me as head of the department effective immediately.

I want to be clear that none of today’s discussion is a reflection of your work. Despite the many challenges that we often face, your commitment to transportation in this state and to the communities you work in is commended by all.

When I started here, I was immediately struck by how passionate each of you are about our work. Doesn’t matter what the subject is … fish passage, practical solutions, maintenance, aviation, engineering, planning, safety, ferries, transit or all of our support functions like IT, HR … this list doesn’t even cover half of all that you do. We have shared trying times together through project challenges, changes, incidents like rebuilding the Skagit River Bridge and tragedies like working in Oso after the mudslide. My role here was to continue to inspire great work, help improve the challenges we face as an agency and to let you shine. Don’t let anything stop all of the remarkable work and progress that you have made. Continue to shine.

I can appreciate how surprising and difficult this is and I encourage you to reach out to your managers. I’m sure many of you have questions, but this has happened very quickly and next steps are not yet clear. We are working with the Governor’s Office and will keep you posted as we learn more.

All my best,
Lynn Peterson

Secretary of Transportation


Crass Act:

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