The King County Council Monday announced that they’ve unanimously appointed Kurt Triplett as King County Executive, with members citing “his professionalism and knowledge of the issues.”

Triplett was unanimously approved by the council to serve in the role which he took on in early May in an interim capacity after Executive Ron Sims stepped down to join the Obama administration.

Triplett will serve until the results of the November general election for County Executive are certified.

Triplett was one of two nominees recommended last week by a Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee co-chaired by former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice and Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke. The Council interviewed Triplett and Royer in-depth Monday morning, along with former County Councilmembers Louise Miller and Steve Hammond.

“As Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, I look forward to working with Kurt Triplett in this time of transition and economic uncertainty,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “He will draw on his 17 years of experience and leadership in County government to inform the difficult choices before the Executive’s office in the next six months.”

“With the 2010 budget in the process of being written and many other extraordinary challenges confronting us, we need an interim Executive who knows the day-to-day operations of King County,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “We need stability now in preparation for the new direction that will come when voters make their decision this November.”

“King County will benefit from Kurt’s perspective and experience during this time of transition in the Executive’s office,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “I look forward to working with the Executive on giving King County’s unincorporated areas the attention and assistance that they deserve. In addition, I hope he will work closely with the district representatives on the Council both on budget and policy issues. At this time of economic stress, we need to weigh all costs carefully and be sure they are prioritized. It will take teamwork and cooperation to develop a budget within existing revenue.”

“In the dire financial crisis we’re facing, Kurt Triplett represents what we need in King County in the short term – continuity and stability,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “New leadership will come this fall, but for now, we need someone who can ably steer our government through our upcoming budget and help transition staff from Ron Sims’ leadership to a new Executive this November.”

Before his designation as interim County Executive upon the resignation of former County Executive Ron Sims on May 8th, Triplett served as the Executive’s Chief of Staff. He has also served as deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources and Parks, and as Senior Legislative Assistant to former County Councilmember Cynthia Sullivan.

The appointment is the culmination of a selection process that began April 6 when the Council adopted legislation to establish the blue-ribbon selection process. Former Executive Ron Sims resigned his office following his swearing-in as Deputy Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama Administration.

Triplett will be formally sworn into office as soon as Tuesday (May 19th). He will serve as County Executive until the results of the November general election are certified in late November

According to the King County Council website:

Kurt Triplett has spent 17 years in leadership, policy development and management roles in King County government, both in the executive branch and on the legislative side. He has served as Deputy Director of King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Senior Legislative Assistant to King County Councilwoman Cynthia Sullivan, and was a legislative aide to State Representative Judy Roland.

As Deputy Chief of Staff for two years when Sims first took office and most recently as Chief of Staff since July of 2003, he has been instrumental in implementation of major initiatives and served as Sims’ chief budget negotiator and lead policy advisor.

Triplett earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Stanford University and his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Triplett and his wife Heather live with their three children, Matthew, Daniel and Meredith, in Seattle’s Crown Hill neighborhood.

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