At their first meeting of September, the Issaquah City Council officially approved the mayor’s appointment of Emily Moon as the new city administrator.
Moon, who joined the city as deputy city administrator in 2014 and took on the role of interim city administrator in January, received praise from the council members on her years of work for the city.
Mayor Mary Lou Pauly explained that she considered three options when tasked with filling the open city administrator position: continuing with the interim city administrator role, completing a national search or selecting a qualified internal candidate.
Pauly said that she did not consider continuing with the interim role because it had been providing a strain on resources as they have been unable to completely staff the executive office — which would be necessary with the upcoming budget tool for this year, the development of the city’s first strategic plan and the implementation of a new budget tool for this year.
Completing a national search was also an option the mayor chose not to pursue due to the length of time and additional attention necessary to complete the process. A national search could take as long as nine months, she said.
With the other two options denied, Pauly chose to appoint a qualified internal candidate to the role.
Pauly cited Moon’s extensive experience in local government at agencies in five other states as well as her work for Issaquah as the reasons why she is the most qualified candidate for the position. Moon also has a master’s degree in of public administration from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Oregon’s Clark Honors College.
Council member Mariah Bettise explained that she was supportive of the appointment as Moon has a good relationship with city staff and a lot of existing knowledge of the city and its functions. Bettise added that a national search for a candidate would take much too long to become effective in the role, while Moon is able to continue the work she has been doing for years.
“The time that would be spent for that (outside candidate) to come in, the learning curve and the ramp up really could end up taking another year,” Bettise said. “Right now, we are sitting with someone who is an incredibly strong, experienced candidate, who would also be incredibly adept at bringing in an a deputy city administrator and training them. So for me this makes really good sense to go forward with the appointment and confirmation of Emily Moon.”
Council member Paul Winterstein also added his own comments of support regarding Moon’s past work with the city and her qualifications for the role.
“I have found Emily to be very knowledgeable. When asked for her opinion and input, she always has provided very strong input, good fact-based arguments,” he said. “The overall performance that I’ve witnessed with the staff and with my own interaction and you look at the duties that this job requires for this city, it’s very difficult for me to imagine that there is another candidate out there who would be better than Emily for this position.”
The council approved the appointment of their new city administrator in an almost unanimous vote, with six votes to approve, one to abstain, and zero against. Council member Chris Reh voted to abstain stating that he did not have some additional information that he felt was important for him to make his vote.
Along with Moon’s appointment, the council also approved the mayor to retain recruitment services to fill the vacant deputy city administrator role, which is expected to occur in early 2019.
For more information, visit the city’s website www.ci.issaquah.wa.us. The full video archive of the council meeting is also available on the official City of Issaquah YouTube channel.