By Scott Schaefer

At its regular meeting on Monday night, April 4, 2022, the Burien City Council heard from GovHRUSA, the executive search firm selected to find a new City Manager for the city.

The Illinois-based, woman-owned firm has 17 years of experience and works exclusively in the public and non-profit sectors. Its services will cost $23,500, according to its proposal, and its vice president, Ryan Cotton – who will manage the search – gave a presentation.

Cotton’s status report included discussing an open, public survey (which closes April 11 – take it here: English • Español Tiếng Việt), creating a recruitment brochure, advertising, proposed timeline, interviews, salary range and more. He is currently interviewing councilmembers and stakeholders to try and find “the best fit for Burien.”

The salary range for the new City Manager is proposed between $215,000-$235,000. Other benefits will include medical, dental, vision, Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), 401A, LTD, and Life, a matching 457 deferred compensation contribution up to 3.5%, as well as a vehicle allowance. The total cost with included perks for this gig is proposed at $212,772. In comparison, the current City Manager in Des Moines – with a population of 32,642 vs Burien’s 52,006 – receives a package valued at $245,409. SeaTac’s City Manager receives a package worth $229,469.

Proposed requirements for city manager candidates include:

    • Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration or related field.
    • Five (5) years of leadership experience in municipal government or related public institutions involving responsibility for the planning, organization and execution of a varied work program, or a combination of education, experience and training that provides the candidate with the knowledge and skills to perform the job.
    • Knows the principles and techniques of policy development and collaboration and capable of providing unbiased information to the City Council.
    • Experience as a new policy convener and being capable of objectively evaluating alternative policy approaches.
    • Skilled in recruiting and developing talent.
    • Exercises sound and ethical judgment.
    • Knowledge of systems and implementation tools for enhancement of diversity and inclusion.
    • Skilled in local and regional governmental collaboration.


    • A master’s degree in a related field.
    • Experience with contracted governmental services.
    • Residency is preferred yet not required.

July 25, 2022 is the proposed start date for a new city manager, with other milestones including:

    • April 6: External Stakeholder interviews.
    • April 11: Advertising for position posted.
    • May 13: First review of applicant candidate credentials.
    • June 6: Final candidates presented to City Council in Executive Session.
    • June 9: Community tour with roundtable discussion with each finalist. Optional stakeholder roundtable discussions with finals candidates.
    • June 10: First interviews with candidates and City Council at Special Meeting (4-5 hours).
    • June 13: Second interviews with City Council; conditional offer made at council meeting.
    • June 20: Negotiations and employment agreement completed.
    • July 25: Approximate start date.

After Cotton’s presentation, the council gave a collective thumbs-up to continue moving forward with the plan.

If you think you’re qualified and want to apply, you are asked to submit a cover letter, resume, and five professional references by May 13, 2022. Click on to read the Recruitment Brochure and apply. For questions, email Interviews will likely be June 9, 10 & 13. Applications are confidential until permission given. Equal Opportunity/ADA Employer. Position open until filled. More info at

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