LETTER: ‘January is not the time to finalize a selection’ for City Manager

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Dear Mayor Bennett and Burien City Council Members:

I was disheartened to read in the recently released RFP for Executive Search Services (http://burienwa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4420) that you are “interested in completing the search and selection process for the new City Manager by the end of January 2014.” As you are aware, the hiring of a new City Manager is of great importance to our community and is of interest to many Burien residents. We are all aware that the City Manager plays a critical role in working closely with and carrying out the directives of the Council, overseeing City staff, and serving the interests of all of us who live in Burien.

The timing noted in the RFP raises several issues. January is not the time to finalize a selection, but rather the time to have a newly-elected Council affirm the criteria and characteristics that define the type of person we want to have running our City and to begin a selection process. With four contested Council positions, one without an incumbent, we know there will be changes in the composition of the Council. Our new City Manager deserves to know who he/she will be working for and the expectations of Council members for the Manager. The new Council deserves nothing less than the right to define the attributes they are seeking in a Manager and select who they will work closely with for the next 2-4 years.

The worst situation will be for our current Council to make a selection that is then rejected by the incoming Council and whatever investment is made now in a search firm and selection process turn out to be wasted resources. Any search firm and potential candidate worthy of consideration in this process would have to agree.

Your decision to move forward in the time frame shown in the RFP shows a lack of respect for the citizens of Burien. Many community members have been very vocal about this issue and I’m sure will welcome the opportunity to engage with and meet potential City Manager candidates. There seems little need to rush this decision and so I ask that you reconsider the timing to allow the 2014 City Council the opportunity to define and fully participate in this process. Thank you for considering this request.

Nancy Tosta

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13 Responses to “LETTER: ‘January is not the time to finalize a selection’ for City Manager”
  1. Burien Fan says:

    Sure, Nancy, because instead of getting down to work and doing the taxpayers’ business as quickly and as efficiently as possible, the Council should putter along and meander and bumble, and mire itself down in endless process, just to satisfy you?

    Well guess what? It’s August, January is four months away, the Council has four months of work to do, and you’re not on it. If you are elected — which I certainly hope does not happen — then you can have your input.

    Four months is plenty of time to select a city manager, with all due diligence done, all the Is dotted, and all the Ts crossed. That’s what we expect for our tax dollars, not endless process. With all the experience in public service that you claim to have, you should know this. That’s why your letter does not pass the smell test. That’s why I’m supporting Rose Clark.

    • Marty says:

      I am going to actively support Nancy Tosta. Rose Clark needs to go.. We need a new perspective on city gov’t . Rose Clark actively supported the ill advised and waste of tax payers money attempt at annexing white center. I have no doubt she will try again if she has the chance. Imo anyone that supports Rose Clark has a special interest in pushing annexation again if it comes.
      Nancy is perfectly correct in stating that the old crony council that will not be in power after this november should be the last people involved in replacing Mike Martin who did nothing positive whatsoever for Burien imo and imo did the exact opposite. Our city would have been a lot better off without him and for that matter without his enablers on the council. Go Nancy Jack Chuck Debbie and Andrea. YOU are best chance for a brighter better Burien. The cronies Brian Bennett Rose Clark and Joan McGilton need to RETIRE!

      • Burien Fan says:

        Annexation is over, do you get it Marty? It was defeated by a 2-1 margin and it is off the table no matter who is elected. Yet you people keep boring us to death with your fear of annexation. It’s getting to the “Communists under every bed” level around here.

        You’re like the old man on a train who kept saying every minute “I am so thirsty.” Finally his seatmate got tired of hearing it, and went and got him a glass of water. The old man drank it down, and then one minute later started up again: “Oh, I was so thirsty!”

        If all you have is annexation, and if annexation is over and done with, why then should we pay any attention to you, or to the rest of your anti-annexation chorus?

        And what’s with this “old crony” business? Who are the Edgars and Mark Ufkes and that whole lot, if not just another clique of “old cronies?”

        By all means, disagree with me if that’s what you think. But at least try to bring some intelligent thought to the discussion.

        • Marty says:

          Burien lover??

          If you really had any idea of what is going on in city politics you would not make the crony accusations you make. It certainly seems like you do not understand what you are saying.
          And Btw.. Annexation is not off the table if Rose Jerry Joan and Joey M or
          Lauren Berkowitz get elected I fully expect to see another push for annexation.
          Mike Martin was quoted as saying he would still have attempted annexation and spend hundreds of thousands doing it even if he knew it was going to fail.
          Rose Joan Jerry put the crony in cronyism and if they hold onto their seats with either Joey M or Lauren Berkowitz getting Brians seat. You WILL see another push for annexation. Thats a no brainer.
          Nancy Debbie Chuck Steve Armstrong or Andrea will make sure this city is not put thru that again. So imo if you really love Burien you will vote for them and against the cronies.

          • Burien Fan says:

            Rose Clark has stated publicly on several occasions, two of which I witnessed personally, that “annexation is a dead issue, the voters have spoken, and it is off the table.” She stated this for the record and it was recorded on video. So it would be helpful to the discussion if you would stop repeating incorrect information.

  2. flashdog says:

    Thank you for a great letter, Nancy. That is what went through my mind when I read the recent B-town Blog article about a new city manager being chosen soon, but you explained the very good reasons for not doing that better than I could. I’m not sure why Burien Fan is so worried about the city council meandering along, puttering and bumbling, etc. That’s what it’s done for years — while MIke Martin ran our city into one disaster after another. Frankly, Nancy, I didn’t know what I thought about you, but after reading this letter, you have my vote. GO, NANCY!!

    • Burien Fan says:

      “Frankly, Nancy, I didn’t know what I thought about you” doesn’t pass the smell test any more than her original position does. Your comment history indicates your longtime, ongoing lack of respect for the Council.

      No, Nancy’s letter is very revealing. She’s telling the Council, in effect, that they are not fit to do their jobs until SHE gets there. She’s all but telling them that they aren’t capable, that only she is capable. She’s demanding veto power over their work as if she was elected already. Meantime the incumbent Council is to stop the work that our taxes are paying for.

      I don’t know when I have read such a condescending, arrogant piece of work. How effective can she expect to be, with a disrespectful attitude like that toward people she (thinks she) will be working with?

      Say what you want to about Rose Clark. No one claims she is perfect, but certainly she treats people with more respect than her challenger appears to.

      • Marty says:

        Burien lover?? Not.

        Your comments disrespect everyone in Burien that has a clue what has been going on in our city for the last several years..
        Are you by chance a republican because your comment smells like the same obstructionism we get from our GOP controlled congress.

  3. watching says:

    Nancy Tosta’s letter isn’t condescending. It’s actually quite thoughtful. The city has an interim manager with excellent skills, and anything that needs to be done in the interim will be done. With an election coming up it seems prudent that the people – whether Nancy or not – that are on the council following the election should select their own choice of manager. There is nothing so dire going on right now that Craig Knutzen can’t handle it. Rushing to replace Mike Martin implies there is something that frantically needs to be done. The existing council is bowing out and could easily leave something positive for the new council to do.

  4. Tbc says:

    “Say what you want to about Rose Clark” O.K. IMHO Rose doesn’t pass the smell test. Anyone that would walk out of a council meeting just to avoid a vote……..

  5. Mark Ufkes says:


    Your thoughtful and positive letter is what is needed in Burien politics. The rush to control the city manager hiring process by several soon-to-be-out-of-a-job Burien city council members is dis-function. Don’t worry about the tone and attitude of the “Burien fan” comments above. Bitter and caustic, and protecting the status quo, is what this person is all about.

    If your approach to city government is the same as how you present your ideas and concerns, you will be an exceptional Burien City Council member. I will pass the word.

    Keep sharing your ideas and view for the future. Don’t ever let bitter and caustic silence you.

    Mark Ufkes (White Center)

    • ShellyC says:

      I was having a tough time deciding on who to vote for in this race, but now that Mark has chimed in I’ll be voting for Rose!

      • Marty says:

        Rose supported and will support annexation. Nancy will not. So plant your flag.
        Personally I oppose annexation and folks like Rose who pushed for it and wasted hundreds of thousands of city dollars attempting it. She should be held accountable.

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