Afternoon Jolt

Friday Jolt: Murray Annouces Firings

Mayor-elect Ed Murray announces five more high-level departures.

By Erica C. Barnett November 22, 2013

In addition to the departure of current city transportation department director Peter Hahn, which we reported in Fizz this morning (Hahn was appointed by departing Mayor Mike McGinn, who fired McGinn's predecessor Greg Nickels' transportation director, Grace Crunican), mayor-elect Ed Murray announced that five more department heads "will not be returning" next year, including two who have been asked to resign and two who are retiring. (See our earlier reporting on the future of city departments under the new Murray administration here). 

In addition, two more high-level city lobbyists are leaving the city. 

The directors who've been asked to leave are:

• City Budget Office Director Beth Goldberg, a sometimes-divisive figure who replaced popular longtime finance director Dwight Dively when Dively left for King County in 2010. (McGinn reassigned Dively to a new position, a change many at the city viewed as a demotion, and he left shortly afterward.)

• Office of Intergovernmental Relations Director Marco Lowe, who directed the city's lobbying shop. Lowe also worked for McGinn's predecessor Nickels. In a letter to the city council, Lowe said, "This is the nature of this job and I understand the decision of the Mayor Elect and appreciate the support he has offered as I exit."

In addition to Lowe, OIR's two Olympia lobbyists, Kelsey Beck and Craig Engelking, are leaving OIR, Lowe said in his email. 

• Personnel Department Director David Stewart, who took over the department under McGinn in 2011 and oversaw the city's review of gender pay disparities in city departments. 


• Rick Hooper, who replaced Adrienne Quinn as acting director of the housing department under McGinn back in 2010 and whom McGinn appointed as permanent director the following year, is retiring, and

• Catherine Lester, who stepped up as interim Human Services Department Director after Dannette Smith, McGinn's controversial pick to head the department, resigned abruptly earlier this year "has been asked to stay on for now as the City conducts a search for a permanent director.

For now, anyway, Murray announced that the following department heads will be keeping their jobs: 

Finance and Administrative Services Director Fred Podesta; Department of Neighborhoods Director Bernie Matsuno; Seattle Public Utilities Director Ray Hoffman; Fire Chief Gregory Dean; Department of Information Technology Director Erin Devoto; Office of Economic Development Director Steve Johnson; Department of Planning and Development Director Diane Sugimura; Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs Director Randy Engstrom; Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams; and City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco

Notably absent from either list: Seattle Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel, whose fate will depend on the results of a promised national search; Parks Department Director Christopher Williams, Office of Sustainability and the Environment director Jill Simmons; Office of Arts and Culture Director James Keblas; Assistant Budget Director Hall Walker; Office for Education Director Holly Miller, and Office for Civil Rights Director Julie Nelson. 

Mayor McGinn sent out a statement thanking each of the department directors for their service. 


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