Sultan’s former city administrator Ken Walker stepped down earlier this year, after Mayor John Seehuus called for an investigation into his professional conduct.

City Planning director Kristi Kyle quit her position in January, explaining in her resignation letter she could no longer work under his supervision, according to the final report. She alleged Walker bullied employees, threatened to write up or fire staff, yelled and swore.

The former director reported employees could sense when Walker came into the office in a bad mood, and never knew what side of their supervisor they would see.

Walker signed a separation agreement with the City of Sultan on March 27, and was on paid leave until April 20, according to the agreement.

Former Mayor Carolyn Eslick appointed Walker as city administrator in 2012. He’d spent the last five years working as a city manager in Louisiana.

The city hired Ephrata-based Clear Risk Solutions to investigate the former planning director’s concerns about Walker, dividing them into eight issues that were laid out in the final investigative report.

Investigators reviewed dozens of documents, including two memos to Eslick regarding his conduct. She resigned a year ago to fill an open 39th District seat in the Washington House of Representatives.

They also spoke with nearly two dozen past and present employees, a Sultan city councilmember and a Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy. The city contracts with the county agency for its law enforcement services.

The first issue in the report addressed his alleged bullying, coercion, and threats toward staff. Kyle reported Walker would gossip about his coworkers. He would act kind around Seehuus and city councilmembers, but demeaning when they were gone, and had extreme moods.

“Mr. Walker is creating a hostile work environment,” the report cites Kyle saying of the former administrator. Another employee reported he contributed to a toxic work environment, and his “power struggle” with another staff member fueled more office conflict.

Testimony from dozens of staff was included in the report. Most employees investigators spoke to reported “Mr. Walker is difficult to work with, at least at times.”

“There was a significant disparity between what staff told me about their relationships with Mr. Walker and what Mr. Walker told me about his relationships with staff,” according to the report.

Walker denied yelling at anyone, claimed he wasn’t a micromanager, tried to keep staff employed — even those who had been written up — and didn’t gossip. He reported that he didn’t target individuals, supported his coworkers and was even tempered.

Some of the reported issues couldn’t be substantiated: that Walker visited dating websites while at work, was rarely in the office, and regularly ignored calls and emails. He also denied the director’s claim that he wouldn’t work with developers, which couldn’t be substantiated.

Investigators did find he spoke poorly of the mayor and councilmembers when they weren’t around, according to the report. They also found there were times he did not follow the city’s rules and policies, nor did he enforce them.

Walker received a $15,000 cash-out of his unused paid time-off when he left, according to the settlement agreement. He was allowed to return to city hall as a resident as long as he remained professional with staff.

City staff and Walker are not to make disparaging remarks about one another, according to the agreement.

Walker took a position as assistant county administrator for California’s Inyo County on May 3, according to an Inyo County news release. He knew he had the job in March; the Ephrata report was submitted to the mayor on March 16.

“The Board of Supervisors is pleased to welcome Ken Walker as Inyo County’s new Assistant County Administrator,” said Board of Supervisors Chairperson Dan Totheroh in the release. “The County is fortunate to have found a candidate of his caliber and with his level of enthusiasm and creativity, and we look forward to great things.”