Burien council to review city-manager search firms on Aug. 19
City Council members will see all the proposals Aug. 19 from search firms bidding to find Burien’s next city manager.
The lawmakers will also hear staff recommendations on who they should pick.
Mike Martin left the city manager position at the end of July to become Lynden’s city administrator. Lynden is a small town located near Bellingham. City Attorney Craig Knutson is filling in as interim city manager.
Even if current council members hire an executive search firm, it will be up to the new council that will be sworn in in January to select the new city manager.
Councilmember Rose Clark, who has helped select two city managers, said it might be in the spring, four or five months after the search firm is picked, before a new manager is hired.
Another veteran council member, Jack Block Jr., noted it took over a year before Martin was selected. Block said there is no rush because Knutson is a capable interim manager.
Councilmember Joan McGilton said current lawmakers “have a wealth of experience on who would be appropriate for Burien.” She added new council members wouldn’t have that knowledge.
Four of the seven council members could be new faces in January.
In the Aug. 6 primary election, Lauren Berkowitz received 51 percent of the vote while incumbent Block received 42 percent. Councilmember McGilton was in a dead-heat with Debi Wagner for McGilton’s seat. They both garnered 33 percent of the vote with Andrea Reay also making a strong showing with 23 percent. For Mayor Brian Bennett’s seat, Steve Armstrong received 49 percent and Joey Martinez received 28 percent. Bennett did not seek re-election.
The top two vote getters in each race will go on to the Nov. 5 general election. Clark also faces a strong general election challenge from Nancy Tosta.
While the current council members argued on how fast the process should go, they all agreed on a hybrid staff/council review of search firms.
Human Resources director Angie Chaufty will review the proposals and make recommendations but lawmakers will also study all the proposals.
Although she is the only Human Resources employee, Chaufty told council members she will try to complete reference checks on all the search firm applicants by the Aug. 19 meeting.
“I’ll make it a goal,” Chaufty assured the lawmakers.