New mayor fills first days with keeping promises
January 7, 2014
By Peter Clark
New Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler has some big shoes to fill and he has already stepped into them.
Though Butler’s official swearing-in did not happen until the City Council’s Jan. 6 meeting, he began his new job Jan. 1. After winning the Nov. 5 election with 75 percent of the vote, he has had two months to prepare for the job.
“It has been a great transition,” Butler said. “The transition actually started during the election.”
He said in the midst of the mayoral campaign, now former-mayor Ava Frisinger and City Administrator Bob Harrison sat down with Butler and his opponent Joe Forkner to discuss emerging issues facing Issaquah and what a transition would require.
With Butler’s early November win, he began the process to more quickly fill the role.
“In early December, I started doing a lot of the administrative things I needed to do,” he said. “I got a lot of the logistical things squared away before Jan. 1 so I would be ready to work.”
Greeting the job with enthusiasm, he said he already has January booked with meeting city department directors and special staff to familiarize himself with the current administrative crew.
Though he is taking the reins of a staff built by the four-term Frisinger, Butler said there would not be any employment changes.
“We’ve got a competent and dedicated staff and I am very honored to join the group,” he said.
As for the first quarter of his administration, he said he wants to act on promises he made through his campaign and address lingering concerns in the community.
“One of my top priorities is to solve the LRIG problem,” he said, referring to the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery, which filters runoff storm water from the Issaquah Highlands into the aquifer. Claims made by the Sammamish Sewer and Water District last year led to rising public concerns about the safety of ground water quality. “I place a high priority on that.”
He also pledged to pursue greater fiscal sustainability, work to define a framework for a city vision and develop metrics to measure city performance.
One of the larger topics on which he campaigned centered on drugs.
“One thing I don’t have a good feel on is around drug use in young adults,” Butler said. “I would like to plan a community conversation around that topic and maybe create some steps we can take to address that problem.”
He agreed it was a long list of goals for the first quarter of his first term, but it doesn’t daunt him.
“All of that, I think, is doable,” he said. “We’ll see.”