County Council confirms ex-Newcastle city manager as permitting agency chief

May 4, 2010

King County Council members confirmed former Newcastle City Manager John Starbard to lead the county agency responsible for building and land-use permits.

Officials said they hope Starbard can change the Department of Development and Environmental Services — a department Councilman Reagan Dunn described as “the worst-run agency in county government” until now.

The agency issues building and land-use permits for properties in unincorporated King County, enforces county building and land-use codes, issues business licenses and staffs the King County Fire Marshal Division.

County Executive Dow Constantine appointed Starbard to the post March 1, the same day Starbard started at the agency. The appointment required confirmation from the council.

The council discussed the appointment and questioned Starbard at a committee meeting last week, and then sent the confirmation to the full council for approval. The council OK’d the appointment May 3.

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Former Newcastle city manager will oversee county permitting agency

March 16, 2010

John Starbard

John Starbard — the former Newcastle city manager fired by the City Council in January — will spearhead the effort to reform the way King County handles building and land-use permits.

County Executive Dow Constantine appointed Starbard as director of the Department of Development and Environmental Services six weeks after the Newcastle council abruptly terminated his contract without cause. The executive praised Starbard for efforts to upgrade Coal Creek Parkway and remake downtown Newcastle into a pedestrian-friendly destination.

But officials cited issues with the relationship between Starbard and other organizations and residents. Before the council fired Starbard during a Jan. 12 meeting, Newcastle Deputy Mayor Steve Buri said the relationships had “been damaged beyond repair.” Read more

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