Burien City Manager Mike Martin may leave for Lakewood soon

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Photo by Michael Brunk.

by Ralph Nichols

Burien City Manager Mike Martin informed city staff members Thursday (June 6) that he is a finalist for the city manager position with Lakewood.

The Lakewood City Council is expected to fill the position within the next two weeks.

Martin was hired by Burien in early 2007. He replaced Gary Long, who had been asked to resign by a new council majority following the 2005 city elections.

Former City Councilman Gordon Shaw said when he left office at the end of 2011 that playing a key role in bringing Martin to Burien was “the best thing” he did for the city while in office.

But three current council members – Deputy Mayor Lucy Krakowiak and Jack Block Jr. and Bob Edgar – have voiced outspoken opposition to Martin (read about Martin’s recent job evaluation here).

Should this November’s city elections produce one more lawmaker who aligns with their voting block, that would give the council an anti-Martin majority – likely making his dismissal inevitable.

In fact, Krakowiak opposed the hiring of Martin and, after he was involved in a DUI-related traffic accident, called for his firing.

Allies of these three council members, including some who have filed for this year’s city council races, are also on the anti-Martin bandwagon – many of them blaming him for the council’s split decision to annex remaining unincorporated North Highline last year.

That measure was soundly defeated by North Highline voters last fall.

He was also criticized for a major cost overrun, incurred by a former city public works director, in an asphalt overlay program for deteriorating major streets.

But despite claims by his critics that Burien is in a shaky financial position, Martin has pointed to the city’s balanced budget despite the recent recession, which makes it one of the most financially stable cities in Washington.

During this time, he has noted, there have been no staff layoffs and almost no reductions in city services.

Martin has also aggressively pursued and secured major funding for transportation, waste water, and park improvements in the city’s Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA), which is expected to bring new commercial development to Burien.

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12 Responses to “Burien City Manager Mike Martin may leave for Lakewood soon”
  1. JJ Greive says:

    Mike Martin has worked hard for our city it will be a real loss to see him go. Good luck Mike!!
    JJ Greive Home Inspections of Puget Sound

    • Mike says:

      He has done nothing for Burien except create cost overruns on Capitol projects and have the city sued by companies that contracted with Burien. His track record has been nothing but cost over runs and NO transparency. Not to mention his two DUI’s. good riddance Martin. Take JJGrieve with you.

    • john poitras says:

      I think the best way to sum up the Mr Martins tenure in Burien is the lack of transparency and lack of accountability which in collusion with his crony majority on the council was the hallmark of his administration here as city executive.
      This article did not mention the millions of dollars he lost the city in the lawsuit over first avenue. It also does not mention the hundreds of thousands that was wasted pursuing and promoting an unaffordable annexation of area Y. These are major reasons the city raised taxes last November. We are fortunate the annexation of white center failed or we would really be in a financial pickle.
      If opposition had not forced the election to be held in November he might have pulled it off like the annexation of boulevard park with a small turnout by holding the vote in August with no organized opposition.
      Don’t forget the mess he made of town center and the dubious benefits of congesting Buriens major thoroughfare (SW 148th) with a bus terminal.
      If as Mr Martin claims our balance is on budget then why are we running a deficit and using the reserve fund to cover it?
      Look at the lack of basic street and sidewalk maintenance in Burien, look at the lack of incentives to encourage new business in down town, look at the lack of emphasis on public safety. I could go on and on because this is too easy, but suffice to say it will be a happy day for Burien if Mr Martin makes an exit from our city, he has done enough damage here. In my opinion the only ones that have benefited from his tenure here are his cronies.
      Its not over until its over but I am crossing my fingers he gets the job.

      • tripC says:

        Spot on John – “Lack of transparency and lack of accountability” I too am hopeful that a move- either by Mike M. or by the election of new council members will usher in a new era for the city of Burien. BUT- we citizens cannot let the possibility of Mike M. leaving on his own terms distract from the real mission, new blood on the council that will help put an end to the overall problem of “Lack of transparency and lack of accountability”. If Mike M. leaves, and there is not a significant change in the politics on the council, I am quite sure there will be little change in the way this city operates. It is important for citizens to vote for candidates that are forthright in their view of the function of government, their agendas, and outlook as to how the city interacts, processes, and responds to input, and feedback from the people they are there to represent.

  2. Jay says:

    New commercial development? We’ve been hearing about an auto mall, hotels, a theater and other projects for years. Where are the investors who provide the capital for these projects? They are investing in cities that have a population that can afford to support these businesses. The First Ave project has been a nightmare. Lawsuits, cost overruns, delays and the severe impact on the businesses is Martin’s legacy.

    How about the significant increase in crime? Ask any officer in Burien and they will tell you they are understaffed. Who would move to to a city that is in the news for murder, rape, child abductions and shootings?

    No surprise Martin has been looking for a job. Better to quit and save face than be fired when his supporters are voted out of office.

  3. TcB says:

    I predicted that he would be moving on soon. The average tenure of a city manager is 7 years and he’s been here about 7 years. This is pretty normal stuff.
    I cannot wait to see who the replacement is so I can start watching the campaign to have them fired.
    After all, the new city manager has done “nothing” for this city!
    I for one am outraged.

  4. SD says:

    Curious….does anyone know if Mr. Martin is offered the City Manager position whether it would be a lateral move or a promotion for him? Lakewood’s City Manager position profile indicates the proposed salary range is $140K-$170K, plus benefits!

  5. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    How much has this NERA project cost Burien so far? Storm-water issues are stalling the project. this is why other storm-water issues in Burien are being swept under the rug.

  6. Coverofnight says:

    Though I too, want to see this fool out of our city, it disappoints me that he might be offered the same position with another city; it’s simply rewarding bad behavior! But that’s how it is with terminal-government employees; if there’s a problem then they are moved laterally or promoted. This guy needs to be unemployed and experience some of the hardships that so many suffer under this economy instead of being employed and hiding behind certain power hungry members of our city council! I’d hate to see him foisted on the good people of Lakewood and have them experience the reckless, selfish, arrogant behavior that we saw here in Burien.

    Even Ponders Corner doesn’t deserve this guy!

  7. Jay says:

    Let’s hope Lakewood isn’t reading all this bad stuff about him otherwise he might still be your city manager.

  8. pamela says:

    TripC, you absolutely correct about electing the right candidates.

    I am already interviewing them. There are many issues that are important to me, and I want my voice to be heard.


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