Councilor Mclaughlin Ready to Begin Questions on Wellness Center – in Writing

After being turned back quite abruptly by two City department heads last week regarding the Wellness Center managerial issues, City Councilor Michael McLaughlin said he is ready to continue even more questioning on the issue March 4 – all in writing.

“After that meeting (on Feb. 11), I went home that evening and re-assessed the situation,” he said. “I was very disappointed in the way department heads spoke to me. I know the right thing to do was to be transparent. I spent that weekend with my head down and a pen and paper in hand. I’ve come up with dozens of questions to make sure the department runs well and transparently for the people of Everett and not as a personal employment agency for insiders. I plan on spending many hours on March 4 in the subcommittee asking these questions.”

Those questions were largely boondoggled on Feb. 11 when McLaughlin tried to get to the bottom of what has happened at the Wellness Center in the wake of former Wellness Director Karen Avila resigning Feb. 5. Human Resources Director Lara Ammouri and Operations Evaluator Omar Easy met McLaughlin with specific demands about having questions in writing, and were not very forthcoming with answering the questions he did get out.

It was a high-intensity meeting with very little new information, but McLaughlin said he expects March 4 to be different.

“Hopefully we’ll have the administration come forward for the first time truthfully and honestly about the disconnect of leadership in that department,” he said. “I just hope we’re not splitting hairs on titles once again.”

McLaughlin said he has also called for an operational audit by an independent auditor because he doesn’t think that Easy can complete the job. That comes, he said, because Easy told him on Feb. 11 he had yet to complete any written reports on any departments in 18 months.

“I have serious concerns that Dr. Easy in 18 months has never written a progress report,” he said. “I don’t have the confidence he is capable of doing a full, in-depth audit of the departments.”

The subcommittee meeting will take place on March 4 in City Hall.

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