by Ralph Nichols
BurienÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new public works director was introduced to city council members at their meeting on Monday, Sept. 14th, with high praise from City Manager Mike Martin.
Larry R. Blanchard, who will step into that role full-time in mid-October, has been public works director for the City of Kent. Until then, he is working one day a week in Burien.
Blanchard will hit the ground running with the task of expanding department services into the North Highline annexation area at the top of his agenda.
He replaces Steven Clarke, who left Burien in March to take a similar position with Maple Valley. Since then, Doug Lamothe in BurienÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Public Works Department has served as interim director.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is indeed a pleasure to be selected as public works director,Ã¢â‚¬Â Blanchard told the council members. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will form a relationship that I hope lasts a long time.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Martin said one of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“many persuasive things about LarryÃ¢â‚¬Â is that Ã¢â‚¬Å“he knows his way around Olympia,Ã¢â‚¬Â which should help him to obtain grants for city projects.
Blanchard replied, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will do my best to get as much money as I can.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Martin, who worked with Blanchard in Kent for several years, later told The B-Town Blog, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really look at him to take our already good public works department to the next level. And there is a lot of work to do in North Highline and he has the skillsÃ¢â‚¬Â to do that.
Describing Blanchard as Ã¢â‚¬Å“a very talented, very respected public works director,Ã¢â‚¬Â Martin added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is very well respected among his colleagues in the public works field. He is a superb organizational leader and knows the issues in Olympia.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very happy to be working with him again. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s seldom that you get to hire the same person twice.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Martin said Blanchard was selected from a Ã¢â‚¬Å“very strong poolÃ¢â‚¬Â of well-qualified candidates and that Ã¢â‚¬Å“he rose quickly to the top. He will be a good fit for the community.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Blanchard brings to Burien more than 30 yearsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ experience in the management of the maintenance, replacement and construction of public works infrastructure systems. He has worked for Kent since 1999. Prior to becoming public works director, he was operations manager for the department and before that was utilities superintendent.
His salary range as BurenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s public works director is $8,407 to $10,218 a month.