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Former Florence city employee speaks out after massive City Council resignation

The former Florence City Manager was fired in August 2021
Posted at 7:43 AM, Mar 24, 2022

FLORENCE — Florence's Interim City Manager announced there will be a special election held to fill the six vacant city council seats, after six out of seven former council members resigned earlier in the week.

"It's not funny that all of this is happening, but I also made the comment that I haven't seen a ship sink this fast that I watched the Titanic," said former city employee, Sasha Swift.

Swift worked at Florence's City Hall from 2016 to 2019, and claims she endured some of the harassment from the former City Manager at the time, Michael Patterson.

"There were regularly comments about like... If two female staff members were friends... They would take that inappropriately and like ask if they had been spending the night together and things like that... Very inappropriate."

Patterson was fired back in August, and later arrested on multiple counts. The affidavit reveals multiple former, female employees say Patterson behaved inappropriately towards them.

The city continues navigating the aftermath of Patterson's arrest, as one former City Council Member says he does not believe all six would have resigned had Patterson not been fired and eventually charged.

"The reason why I left was, I didn't want to be associated with the guilt," said Mike Vendetti, who turned in his letter of resignation on Tuesday, and was still a Council Member when Swift worked at City Hall.

The details of the special election are still being worked out.

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