City Hall

Murray Announces More Top Hires

Mayor-elect Ed Murray announces a diverse crew of appointments to head his administration and departments.

By Erica C. Barnett December 11, 2013

Saying he wanted to have an administration "as diverse as the city of Seattle," Seattle mayor-elect Ed Murray announced nearly 20 new appointees to his administration and to head city departments this morning. The list was undeniably diverse: Of 19 appointees, eight were women, and eight were racial minorities. 

Nominations for department directors are subject to council confirmation. (I live-tweeted the announcement here).

I'll have more to say about the proposed appointees, of course (at the press conference, I asked Murray about a potential conflict of interest for one of his appointments), but for now, here are the names (along with the names of folks they're replacing, when applicable, and their salaries) of Murray's department heads and executive staff: 

Deputy Mayor for external affairs: Hyeok Kim, currently director of the Interim Community Development Association, an affordable housing and community development group that focuses on the Chinatown/International District. Kim will replace McGinn's deputy mayor Darryl Smith. ($170,000)

Interim Deputy Mayor for internal affairs: Andrea Riniker, the former city manager for the city of Bellevue and Port of Tacoma director. Riniker's is a new position, although McGinn began his term with a second deputy mayor, former Vulcan executive Phil Fujii. ($170,000)

Budget Director: Ben Noble, currently head of the city council's central staff. Dr. Noble, AKA the smartest guy at city hall, replaces Beth Goldberg. ($170,000) 

Communications Director: Jeff Reading, most recently deputy chief of staff for the state Senate Democrats in Olympia. Reading, who also did a brieft stint in Microsoft communications' shop and prior to that headed up communications for the state senate Democrats under former majority leader Sen. Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane), replaces Beth Hester. ($140,000) 

Office of Policy and Innovation (a new office Murray described as "an in-house consultancy to the mayor): 

Director: Robert Feldstein, currently chief of staff to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. ($170,000)

Deputy Director: Mike Fong, currently a city council central staff member focusing on transportation and human services. ($130,000). Fong, who coordinates an annual election year betting pool for city hall insiders, is a numbers and systems nerd with a trophy-winning middle school basketball league coaching record.

Transit and Transportation advisor: Andrew Glass-Hastings, who headed up the successful Sound Transit 2 campaign and currently works in government relations at King County. ($118,000)

Organizational Effectiveness advisor: Steve Lee, who's currently a Washington, D.C.-based governmental effectiveness consultant. ($118,000)

Police Chief Search and Police Reform advisor: Tina Podlodowski, a former city council member who headed the Lifelong AIDS Alliance and was a member of the city's Community Police Commission (created as part of the city's settlement with the DOJ). ($118,000)

Waterfront and Seawall advisor: Jared Smith, who heads up Northwest operations for Parsons Brinckerhoff and was the lead advisor on the viaduct replacement project. ($160,000). This was the one where I asked about a conflict.

Personnel Department (which Murray wants to rename the Human Resources Department): Susan Coskey, a Seattle labor attorney and organizational consultant. Coskey replaces David Stewart. ($175,000)

Office of Civil Rights: Patricia Carrasco Lally, a former assistant U.S. Attorney and past president of the Latina/o Bar Association. Lally replaces Julie Nelson, who sent out a sad email to employees confirming that she'd been fired earlier today. ($151,000)

Office of Housing: Steve Walker, a former member of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission in Olympia. Walker replaces Rick Hooper. ($145,000)

Murray also announced he's hiring Maggie Thompson, a campaign staffer and former field director for the successful gay marriage campaign, as external affairs manager; Uriel Ybarra, a staffer for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), as outreach manager; Haptamu Abdi, a community activist and member of the city's Immigrant and Refugee Advisory Board, as advance manager; and Rahwa Habte, a OneAmerica immigrant rights organizer and co-founder of THEESatisfaction's former headquarters Hidmo, as youth outreach manager.  

Murray still plans to make several key hires, including a new director of the city's Office of Intergovernmental Relations (Murray asked current director Marco Lowe to step down), a new director of the Department of Transportation (deputy director Goran Sparrman is stepping into that role on an interim basis, replacing Peter Hahn), a new head of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (community organizer Aaliya Gupta is interim, replacing Magdoleno Rose-Avila), and a new director of the Human Services Department (Catherine Lester is the interim—she replaced McGinn hire Dannette Smith—and Murray says he wants to do a nationwide search for Smith's permanent replacement). 

Additionally, Murray announced today that Christopher Williams will stay on as head of the Parks Department. 

Last month, Murray announced that the following department and office heads would be staying on: Finance and Administrative Services Director Fred Podesta; Department of Neighborhoods Director Bernie Matsuno; Seattle Public Utilities Director Ray Hoffman; Fire Department 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 

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