LETTER: ‘January is not the time to finalize a selection’ for City Manager
[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.
[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our 65-90,000+ monthly Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]