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Seed received settlement from Salt Lake after dropping lawsuit threat, she says

2 former employees accused Rocky of gender discrimination

A former Salt Lake City councilwoman, now a fired city employee, said Thursday the city paid her after she agreed she would not bring a gender-discrimination lawsuit against Mayor Rocky Anderson.

"We informed the city that we were thinking of bringing a suit based on gender discrimination," Seed said. "In our view, Mayor Anderson is much harder on female employees."

Last week, the city paid Seed, the mayor's former communications director, and Christy Cordwell, Anderson's ex-administrative assistant, settlements totaling roughly $13,700.

Seed said she took the settlement to pay for up to six months of transitional health coverage she needs for her family while she looks for a new job.

City Attorney Ed Rutan said the settlement was in addition to the normal severance packages the two employees would have received otherwise. He said he didn't think the pair would win their suit, but decided to settle because the cost of the payout would be less than the cost of litigation.

Annette Daley, currently a community affairs liaison in the mayor's office, said she hasn't witnessed any gender discrimination.

"I haven't seen it, and I would disagree with that," she said.

City spokesman Cliff Lyon pointed to the fact that of the 17 employees in the mayor's office, 12 are women.

Anderson agreed that the accusations of gender bias were unfounded.

"There was absolutely no merit to any claim," he said. "The amount of the settlement reflects that there was no merit. If anybody had a real claim you wouldn't see a $5,000 settlement. We paid that money to help her out with her insurance while she tries to find another job."

Seed was paid $5,000 and another $1,000 for attorney fees.

Seed was fired Aug. 26 and Cordwell quit the same day. Seed and Anderson have taken turns criticizing each others' job performances in the media since her firing. Anderson offered a brief apology earlier this month.

"I've lost two good friends as a result of this recent ordeal, and I truly wish them the very best. I hope that someday we can renew those friendships," Anderson said. "If I became impatient, if I became frustrated, if I said or did anything that hurt or caused anxiety to anyone, I'm sorry. I wish things had turned out differently."