By Jack Mayne

City Manager Brian Wilson told the Burien City Council on Monday night, Feb. 3, that new month-to-month leases for six months were agreed to by six of the seven Annex tenants. The seventh lessor, The Hi-Liners, have found another location, he said.

Critical repairs are being researched and some interim ones are being made by the city to the facility, “keeping the expenses low,” under $25,000, as ordered by the Council.

He said there have been some additional problems that have “come up.” One such problem is the facility boiler started leaking and repairs are underway. A city employee also found greying or black water under the structure’s foundation, and “we are taking steps to address that issue on a temporary basis.

LEAD success, new staff
Wilson also told Council the city’s new LEAD program has had a success. The Burien Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program diverts people who have committed certain misdemeanors into community-based treatment and support services such as housing, health care, job training, treatment and mental health support. Diversion instead of putting them in the traditional criminal process.

“A long-term homeless person, who has suffered from significant barriers, has had quite a bit of contact with our police over 47 cases were completed. There was probably three times that number of calls generated by the public regarding concerns,” he said. “There were multiple bookings in the SCORE facility (jail).”

He said that over months police and a navigation team in a collaborative process “were able place this individual in housing with supportive services, so staff, police chief, services manager really are proud of what’s occurred with this individual — a long road but tremendous success.” He lauded Human Services Manager Colleen Brandt-Schluter and the staff involved and got an ovation from the audience and the Councilmembers.

Wilson also gave thanks to retiring Burien police Capt. Jessica Sullivan after 20 years of service in the King Councy Sheriff’s Department, which provides contract police services to the city.

The city manager also introduced new Burien city employees. Carolyn Hope has joined the Burien Parks Recreation and Cultural Services as its new Director. Greg Rutkosky is the new street and stormwater maintenance manager; Alex Hunt is a new planning staff member and Nate Hawthorne, a new city paralegal.

Olguin has unexcused absence
Councilmember Pedro Olguin was absent once again from the Burien City Council meeting on Monday night.

“Haven’t received a phone call or a text message from Councilman Olguin,” said Mayor Jimmy Matta.

“So if you have not heard from Councilmember Olguin, I would move that he is not excused from this meeting,” said Councilmember Nancy Tosta.

“Is there a motion to not excuse Councilman Olguin’s absence? I’ll take a vote on that,” said Matta. All 6 members present voted for the motion. “Motion passes,” the mayor said.

Under Washington state law, a Councilmember who misses three consecutive regular meetings without being excused for those absences can be removed from the City Council.

According to City Clerk Megan Gregor, this was Olguin’s first unexcused absence. The council will be discussing its bylaws on absences at its next regular meeting on Mar. 2, Gregor added.

Burien City Councilmembers voted 6-0 to consider Olguin’s absence “unexcused.”

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.