The Asian community’s celebration of Phil Fujii’s appointment as Seattle’s deputy mayor position was unfortunately short-lived. Most were surprised that Fujii departed after only mere months. Perhaps even Fujii himself was surprised.
Fujii is not talking to anyone. Both Fujii and the mayor have been vague about the reasons for Fujii’s departure. However, I’ve found some more information after talking to city insiders and people who have previously worked there.
One would assume the mayor consulted Fujii before making major moves in the city’s operation. Wrong.
According to one of my sources, McGinn sent out an executive order that Fujii didn’t even know about.
Then, Fujii got blamed for the unpopular order because the public thought it were Fujii’s idea.
Two insiders told me that McGinn doesn’t have knowledge of all the personnel rules.
“He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” said Evelyn Yenson, who worked for the city for years. And he doesn’t consult his staff to ask for recommendations before he makes decisions, she said.
Another said, “If your vision is different from the mayor’s, perhaps it’s best to leave.”
Fujii internalized all the stress, one co-worker said. His health suffered.
Perhaps Fujii should have taken a lesson from former deputy mayor Tim Ceis, who worked under Nickels.
Ceis was known as the “shark” — not afraid to bite — but was also efficient on the job. Fujii should not have been a sucker for stress created by the boss. He should have gotten out there and released his stress by chewing others out for not following orders.
Perhaps Fujii is too nice. Maybe it’s good that Fujii left. ♦