City invites input as mayor prepares to hire administrator

August 31, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

The candidates in the running to become the next Issaquah city administrator — the No. 2 position at City Hall — offer experience as managers in similar-sized cities.

Mayor Ava Frisinger and Greg Prothman, the Bellevue headhunter hired by the city, had narrowed the list to a half-dozen candidates by last week. The number had shrunk to five by Aug. 30, after a finalist accepted a job in another city.

Frisinger has so far remained tight-lipped as she searched for a successor to Leon Kos, the city administrator for 33 years. Kos retired in late April and the search for a replacement started in late spring.

The process has been kept quiet in part because the applicants do not want their current employers to know about their job searches.

Frisinger intends to lift the cloak of confidentiality surrounding the process at a public reception Sept. 7.

“Not only do we get to know the candidates, but they get a chance to know the community better,” Prothman said.

The five finalists — all men — and 46 other candidates applied for the job by mid-July. Prothman said four of the finalists come from Washington; the other hopeful resides in Ohio.

Frisinger described the finalists as friendly and high-energy people. The mayor said the finalists had studied Issaquah issues before she interviewed them at the Prothman office in Eastgate.

“I’ve had a sense that they would be a good fit here, each and every one of the remaining people,” she said last week. “Then, it’s the hard task of the community and the staff panel to decide which of those would be the best fit.”

City department chiefs and a community group appointed by the mayor interview the finalists the day after the public reception. Plans also call for the finalists to be taken on a tour of the city as part of the process.

The panels then offer recommendations to the mayor. Frisinger intends to select a top candidate and recommend the candidate to the City Council. The council has the authority to make the final hiring decision.

The next administrator stands to earn $124,500 to $158,916 — plus benefits — and settle into the role in October.

Not long after Kos retired, the city directed Prothman to conduct a nationwide search and focus on Western states. From the 51 applicants, Frisinger and Prothman selected 13 semifinalists.

“The semifinalists were all qualified on paper,” Prothman said.

Get involved

City administrator search community meeting

5 p.m.

Tibbetts Creek Manor

750 17th Ave. N.W.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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