The departure of the Hanford City Clerk was neither private nor neat. After receiving her plaque of appreciation for her 34 years of service to the city, outgoing City Clerk Karen Madruga took to the podium during the public comment session to explain the reason for her departure.

According to her five minute remarks, Madruga’s retirement was a result of a hostile work environment, dysfunctional city governance structure, and an alleged verbal assault by the city manager. Despite reporting her complaints to the mayor, nothing changed, leading her to seek her only way out: retirement.

According to Madruga, the city no longer values its employees or their experience or knowledge. The system now relies upon who knows who, and not who knows what. Overpaid employees, such as the City Attorney, are doing the job of other workers, and using it to justify their pay. For example, the new City Attorney contract is for $350,000; and according to Madruga, he spends time doing human resources work.

At the end of her remarks, she took her leave. Her last day is July 14.

From the Hanford Sentinel:

City bosses had a plaque of appreciation waiting for retiring Hanford City Clerk Karen Madruga at Tuesday’s Council meeting. But that didn’t stop Madruga – who has  kept her silence amid the plummeting morale facing City Hall –  from speaking out against her boss, City Manager Hilary Straus, and sending some critical parting words to the City Council.

Speaking from a podium normally reserved for audience members, Madruga used her full five minutes to read her statement, which spelled out the reasons for her  disillusionment with the direction of city leadership, which she described as “a path of dishonesty and distrust.” She also said she was retiring after 34 years partly because of a recent incident in which Straus verbally attacked her.

Read the full article here.