Nationwide search for new Burien City Manager begins Tuesday

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by Ralph Nichols

Burien’s nationwide search for a new city manager “goes live” with the publication and online posting of a recruiting brochure on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Applications for city manager will be received through Jan. 3 by SGR, the executive search firm retained by the city council earlier this fall, interim City Manager Craig Knutson told The B-Town Blog.

The new city manager – who will be selected by the new city council from a list of the most qualified candidates – will replace Mike Martin, who resigned in June to become city administrator for Lynden, Wash.

Last month SGR held a public open house to receive community input and conducted interviews with all city current and incoming council members, city department heads, and a representative contingent of city employees to determine criteria for the hiring process.

A summary of the firm’s findings, compiled by Tom Muehlenbeck of SGR, was requested by the blog and provided by the city.

The primary challenge facing Burien’s next city manager, based on the feedback obtained, will be developing “a sustainable financial plan that supports city operations and capital projects, while taking into consideration available resources and budget constraints.”

And a “vitally important” function, especially according to some city councils members and a number of Burien residents, will be “improving trust” between the city manager’s office and the city council, city staff, and the community.

This will include developing policies and procedures for “a transparent and efficiently run organization” and establishing a “prioritized goal setting process that includes measures and reporting tools” – something described as “crucial.”

The new city manager will also be responsible for developing an economic development action plan and for overseeing completion of the next phase of the Town Square project.

“It will be vital for the new City Manager to continue and expand regional cooperation, including with the Port of Seattle and surrounding communities, to ensure that Burien is an active participant in regional decision making,” SGR also reported based on feedback obtained.

In addition, it was suggested that he or she develop a coordinated outreach program to define and address the needs of city neighborhoods and diverse populations, and to improve professional development opportunities for the city council, city staff, and the city manager.

Qualities expected in the successful candidate for city manager, SGR determined from input received, include “a collaborative servant leader with the ability to translate community vision into practical and sustainable programs and goals,” a respect for staff and community standards,” listening skills, and “the highest ethical standards.”

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