first_imgMary Blanchette, the former executive director of the Children’s Justice Center, was viewed with “fear and distrust” by staff and oversaw “a significantly strained working environment” that led to her ouster earlier this year, records obtained by The Columbian through a public records request reveal.In September, the county council quietly approved an agreement with Blanchette that ended her employment overseeing the center, which provides support and advocacy for abused children. Under the agreement, Blanchette agreed not to sue and was given a one-time payment of $146,587. Both sides agreed not to discuss her separation, according to the agreement.Records show that the Human Resources Department concluded that Blanchette didn’t harass any employees under the county’s definition of “harassment,” nor did she violate any policies. However, documents show Blanchette had an uneasy relationship with staff that didn’t improve after the center hired an outside executive coach.“Her desire for control has resulted in a workplace where she is seen as punitive,” a county HR report concluded. “Given the feedback received over the course of this investigation, it would appear that Mary lacks self-awareness regarding her leadership and communication style.”Pat Jollota, who helped found the CJC and is chair of a nonprofit that supports it, said she heard about problems at the center but still said Blanchette did “an incredible job.”last_img read more