Issaquah asks citizens what they want in a city administrator

The opinion of the citizens will play a factor in the hiring process of a new city administrator.

As the city of Issaquah begins the search for a new city administrator, the opinion of the citizens will play a factor in the hiring process.

The city has opened an online survey asking what qualities, skills and expertise they think is necessary for the role. The answers received will inform the interview process, shaping questions asked of candidates and forming the ideal description for the city administrator role. The survey is available at opentownhall.com/7491 until 5 p.m. on June 12.

Issaquah’s current city manager Emily Moon announced she would be leaving the city in August. To fill the role as soon as possible, the city has already begun the first steps of the hiring process with the executive recruiting firm Karras Consulting.

Mayor Mary Lou Pauly said her goal was to make the hiring of the next city administrator a community based process. Based on a similar process recently conducted by Eastside Fire and Rescue, Pauly wants to create interview panels formed by elected officials, city directors, and maybe even a mayor or manager from another city. The goal is to have candidates vetted by people who will have future working relationships with the administrator.

“The community survey is helpful — it can be used to inform (the panel) of the broader community opinion,” Pauly said. “We will take the survey results back into the interview process… As we design questions for the interview panel.”

Responses to the survey can be viewed publicly after submission. An anonymous respondent who lives and works in the city described their vision that a candidate must have to be hired for the role.

“A vision for a future Issaquah that is greener, not overcrowded, infrastructure that accommodates residents, schools built to handle student populations,” They wrote. “Being on the forefront of handling environmental, economic and health issues by being proactive in the way we recruit businesses, where and what we build, and controlling the cost of living to be a welcoming community for all ages and tax brackets.”

Another anonymous respondent called for a candidate that would bring a focused consistency and collaboration to the city administration.

“Unfortunately, there are some within the organization who are unable or unwilling to support their staff, or adapt to the changing needs of the city,” The anonymous respondent wrote. “The new city administrator will need to work closely with department directors and frequently communicate with all members of staff to ensure that the implementation of the strategic plan is taking place at every level of the organization.”

Karras Consulting has helped the administration create the job listing and has circulated through professional recruiting organizations like the International City/County Management Association.

Mayor Pauly described the recruitment schedule as aggressive, stating interviews and candidate selection is expected in July as the city wants as short a gap as possible between city administrators.

The survey can be found at opentownhall.com/7491 and is open for submissions until June 12.

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