Murray announces barrage of new hires

Mayor-elect Ed Murray fills several key positions and promises to create a new policy office.
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Ed Murray during an interview

Mayor-elect Ed Murray fills several key positions and promises to create a new policy office.

Mayor-elect Ed Murray announced a bevy of new hires for his incoming administration on Tuesday, including a pair of deputy mayors, a city budget director and a director of the Office of Civil Rights.

In addition to filling in some of his incoming administration's roster, the mayor-elect said that he is planning to create an Office of Policy and Innovation, within the mayor’s office, to act as an “in-house consultancy.” Robert Feldstein will come from New York, where he served in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, to run the new office. In total, Murray named 15 new staff members during a morning press conference at the Seattle Municipal Tower.

“I said during the campaign that public service was the number one value that I hold as an elected official,” Murray said. “I wanted to hire people who reflected that value of public service.”

Murray also said during the press conference that he thinks the Highway 99 Tunnel can be finished under budget and on time, expressed support for the city’s new Bicycle Master Plan, and said he favored a change in police department hiring rules that would allow the chief of police to hire assistant and deputy chiefs from outside the department. He declined to give a timeline for the impending police chief search, saying he would have more details about his plans for hiring a new chief once he’s in office.

One of Murray’s two deputy mayors will be Hyeok Kim, who is executive director of Interlm Community Development Association, a nonprofit that focuses on providing affordable housing for Asian and Pacific Islander immigrant communities. The other is Andrea Riniker, a former Bellevue City Manger, who has also held director posts at the Port of Tacoma, Seattle Tacoma International Airport and the State Department of Ecology. Riniker, Murray said, will serve for about six months and will help him find someone to fill the position permanently after her departure.

Each of the deputy mayors will focus on a different set of issues. Kim will concentrate on community engagement and Rinikler will focus on the inner workings of city departments.

Murray swiped his budget director, Ben Noble, from the City Council’s central staff. Noble started at the central staff in 2000 and has served as the director of since 2006, heading up a team of 16 policy analysts.

In the Office of Civil Rights, Patricia Lally will replace Julie Nelson, the current director, who Murray decided to fire.  An adjunct professor at Seattle University Law School, Lally worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Seattle for 11 years.

Staff members at the new Office of Policy and Innovation will include Mike Fong, who currently works as City Council staff analyst and will serve as Deputy Director; former City Council member Tina Podlodowski, who will tackle police reform for the office and Jared Smith, who will oversee waterfront and seawall issues. Smith is currently head of Northwest operations for Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the primary engineering firms involved in the Alaska Way Viaduct and Elliott Bay Seawall replacement projects.

Among the other staff announcements were: Susan Coskey, director of the Office of Personnel; Andrew Glass Hastings, transportation lead in the Office of Policy and Innovation; Aaliya Gupta, Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs; Steve Lee, organizational effectiveness lead in the Office of Policy and Innovation; Jeff Reading, Communications Director; Goran Sparrman, interim director of Seattle Department of Transportation and Steve Walker, Director of the Office of Housing.

The top earners on the list are Sparrman, whose salary will be $176,000, and Coskey, who will receive $175,000. The deputy mayors, Noble and innovations director Feldstein will each receive salaries of $170,000. The other salaries range from $116,000 to $160,000. 

There is still more hiring on the horizon for the mayor-elect.

“This is only part one, we’ve not completed our process,” Murray said. “We’re going to be deliberative about this process and wait until we find the best people for the positions we have.”


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