Saying What They Mean

By Morning Fizz December 11, 2009


1. Mayor-Elect Mike McGinn announced some of his department directors yesterday afternoon. So far, he's keeping a lot of Mayor Greg Nickels' heads, most notably math brain Dwight Dively as Director of Finance.

One of the new people is another math brain—Beth Goldberg, who will be budget director. Goldberg—perhaps best known as the a monorail board candidate in 2005 who ran (and won) on a platform of shutting down the agency (check)—comes over from King County, where she's been acting director of the budget office.

McGinn will be replacing Alan Painter, Nickels' head of human services, but he didn't name a permanent replacement. Kip Tokuda, a former state house rep from the 37th District, will be the acting director.

We've posted McGinn's full announcement below the fold.

Important footnote: PubliCola's TechNerd, Glenn Fleishman, gives the thumbs-up to the news that McGinn is keeping Bill Schrier, the city's chief technology officer.

This email just in from Glenn:
Schrier's office both runs the city's technology infrastructure, manages its relationship with cable operators like Comcast and Broadstripe, and plans city endeavors such as the multi-year effort that strung fiber among city, state, federal, and academic offices and buildings.

He's also been a tireless advocate of expanding super-high-speed broadband--service that's an everyday reality in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and parts of Europe--to everyone in the city, while also sponsoring reports that reveal the divide between rich and poor, whites and other races and ethnicities in Seattle.

With Schrier remaining in office, the chance for a fiber-to-the-home network remains strong.

2. Mayor Nickels hasn't announced what he's doing next, but his daughter Carey moved to Washington, DC last week to start a job at the heavy of DC think tanks, the Brookings Institution.

Carey Nickels went to the UW Jackson School of International Studies and recently graduated from the London School of Economics.

3. Mayor Nickels' former outreach director, Viet Shelton, who left the city in April to run Nickels' re-election campaign, is going to work in Governor Chris Gregoire's communications shop, where he'll be dealing with the press.

Great move for Gregoire, who has had trouble relating to the public: Not only is Shelton, 28, well-liked by the press corps (because he knows the issues), but he comes from the new school of Democrats that isn't shy about saying what they mean.

Before working for Mayor Nickels, Shelton was the communications guy for the Washington State Democrats when he was just 25. Shelton got his start as an intern on Mayor Nickels 2001 campaign and doing press work for state rep (now state senator) Ed Murray.

4. The Greater Seattle chamber of commerce had its annual cocktail party last night at the Convention Center Skybridge ($55 for members, $70 for non-members). Governor Gregoire was there (talking new taxes), but the main attraction according to one attendee was Mayor-Elect McGinn, his incoming deputy Darryl Smith, and his incoming director of operations Julie McCoy, who were reportedly holding court.

Also on hand: State Attorney General Rob McKenna, new King County Exectuive Dow Constantine, and local GOP chair Luke Esser.

Today's Morning Fizz brought to you by Office Nomads:


Mike McGinn's press release:
SEATTLE - Mayor-elect Mike McGinn today announced his first round of department director and cabinet leadership decisions.  The City of Seattle is comprised of 27 departments, with each director generally selected by the Mayor, subject to council confirmation.

The most wide-ranging change is the consolidation of several general government functions under the leadership of Dwight Dively.  Dively, continuing as Director of Finance, will oversee the combined Departments of Executive Administration and Fleets and Facilities, along with some previous functions from the Department of Finance, including federal stimulus tracking, debt management, and financial policy development.

"Dwight's integrity and extensive knowledge of city government is critical to our commitment to do more with less," said McGinn. "Dwight has served Mayors Rice, Schell, and Nickels with distinction.  I am honored that he will serve in my administration."

Beth Goldberg will serve as Budget Director.  Goldberg most recently served as Acting Director of the King County Budget Office, where she has held a variety of budget analysis and supervision roles over the past 14 years.  As an elected board member and chair of the Seattle Monorail project, she oversaw the shutdown of that agency from 2005-2008.

"Beth is well known for her tenacity and attention to detail," McGinn said.  "We will rely on her organizational skills and judgment to solve a projected $40 million general fund deficit for 2011."

In addition to their department leadership roles, Dively and Goldberg will also serve on McGinn's Budget and Operations sub-cabinet.

Brenda Bauer, outgoing Director of Fleets and Facilities, has been asked to remain for six months to assist Dively in merging Fleets and Facilities into the new Department of Finance.

Fred Podesta, outgoing Director of Executive Administration, has accepted a new cabinet level position in the McGinn administration. This important new role will be detailed in January.

Former state legislator and transition co-facilitator Kip Tokuda has accepted the position of Acting Director of Human Services, replacing outgoing director Alan Painter.  Tokuda will serve in this position until a permanent director is selected.

"Kip is one of our city's most respected community leaders," said McGinn.  "I am grateful for his willingness to return from retirement to oversee this critical department."

Four department directors have been retained in their current roles.  Diane Sugimura will continue as Director of the Department of Planning and Development.  Mark McDermott will continue as Director of the Department of Personnel.  Stella Chao will continue as the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods.  And Bill Schrier will continue as the Director of the Department of Information Technology.

Additional department director decisions will be announced next week.

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