Burien Council told of plans to find new police chief; students seek youth council


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By Jack Mayne

Burien’s city administration is planning “a robust public engagement process before the selection of the new police chief to gather community feedback on what people want to see in their police department” City Manager Brian Wilson told the Burien City Council at Monday’s (March 5) regular meeting.

Wilson said he has received five applications from Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht from officers wanting to be considered for the police chief job.

‘Robust’ process
The long-term goal is to set a candidate up for success with the community and city leadership, the city manager said.

“A robust engagement process will help build bridges early in the new chief’s tenure,” said Wilson. “Specifically, we want to make sure that the community feels their voices were represented during the process and that council supports the city manager’s choice.”

He said the process will engage residents, business owners and other community groups.

There will be community meetings in the downtown area as well as in Boulevard Park and the Ambaum and North Burien areas, Wilson said. Promotional materials will be translated into Spanish and Vietnamese and interpreters will be available at the community meetings.

“We are also deploying a short, multi-lingual survey that will be posted on our website,” Wilson said.

Youth Council sought
Three area high school women asked the Council to create a Youth Council because they “will someday be sitting where you are” and that it “is important for us to have opportunities for civic engagement.” Mya Matta said there are many things that Council will consider that will affect her generation and noted that her age group may “be sitting where you are today … it only makes sense that we are involving our youth now.”

Councilmember Bob Edgar said he had proposed a Youth Council “a couple of years ago” and proposed it be placed on a future agenda, and Councilmember Nancy Tosta supported the idea.

Andrea Reay, Executive Director/CEO of the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, wanted the Council to include businesses in plans the Council involves itself in the upcoming year.

“We are committed to working with you and our community and other stake holders to help Burien to be the best place for our economy to grow and our stakeholders to succeed,” she said.

Resident Cheryl Cornelius told Council during comment period that she works at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church where people often ask for assistance with rent payment or to find places to live, but she noted that many property owners will not accept housing vouchers.

Para Los Niños cited
Deputy Mayor Austin Bell nominated Burien’s Para Los Niños as the organization of the year, and the Council voted unanimously to approve the choice. This award is instead of naming one “Citizen of the Year.”

“Para Los Niños is a grassroots community organization founded by members of the community it serves—the growing immigrant, Spanish-speaking population in South King County,” says the organization’s website.

New employee
City Manager Brian Wilson introduced new recreation coordinator Bo Du (pictured above) to the Council, noting she once worked several years for the city, then moved on to Bellevue and Federal Way.

“I came back because I knew what was good for me,” she said, adding that she was a graduate of Evergreen High School. She said Councilmembers had “a standing and open invitation to all of our special events we put on so we hope to see more of your out there.”

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