City to hire interim manager
After the announcement of the departure of City Manager Noel Treat at the end of the year, Mayor Bruce Bassett said the Council will use a two-step process to find a replacement.
Bassett said he will form a committee with other councilmembers, Assistant City Manager Kirsten Taylor, City Attorney Kari Sand, Finance Director Chip Corder and Human Resources Director Kryss Segle. There is a Seattle-area firm that maintains stable of retired city managers to step in as interims, he said, and the group will interview candidates who can step in for a few months, starting in January.
The city will then begin a conversation about a full-time manager, which will be a four-six month process, Bassett said.
Update: According to the Jan. 4 City Council agenda, the subcommittee is recommending the hiring of Steve Lancaster, effective Jan. 12. Lancaster formerly served as Mercer Island’s Development Services Director and City Administrator for Tukwila. The subcommittee received and reviewed the resumes of seven potential candidates interested in the interim position.
Parking study authorized
In a 4-3 vote, the City Council authorized spending $42,500 on a Town Center parking study, per request of the Joint Commission and city staff.
The Council agreed that there is a perception of lack of parking downtown, though some said they’ve never personally had a problem finding a spot. By a slight majority, they decided it’s an issue worth looking into, if only to define the problem.
Deputy Mayor Dan Grausz said that the Joint Commission has enough work to do on the development code without worrying about parking, and noted that the Council had already approved $29,000 for a more limited parking study. Councilmember Jane Brahm worried that the Town Center work may lose credibility if the Commission’s requests for more data are not granted.
“We need to validate the work the Joint Commission is doing by giving them the tools they need [to solve] this problem, whether it’s perceived or real,” Brahm said.
Council to discuss 2016 legislative priorities
The City Council will discuss Mercer Island’s priorities going into the 2016 legislative session at its next meeting on Jan. 4.
Some of the Island’s priorities include recommendations from the Association of Washington Cities, King County and A Regional Coalition for Housing.
One focuses on the levy swap proposal to address school funding and the McCleary decision. Some analysis suggests that wealthier school districts could end up paying more and getting less under the proposed plan, SB 6102. The city will try to work with the school district on a plan that is revenue neutral.