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

Talks began in December regarding finding a new Newcastle city manager

January 22, 2010

UPDATED — 5:12 p.m. Jan. 22, 2010

Talks regarding firing Newcastle City Manager John Starbard and appointing former Community Development Director Rob Wyman as interim city manager began privately in December.

While Newcastle councilmen-elect John Dulcich, Bill Erxleben and Rich Crispo said they had been in favor of making changes to the city’s management, Erxleben specifically sought out Wyman in December as a candidate for interim city manager.

Erxleben discussed the matter with Dulcich and Crispo, and such talks were legal because the councilmen-elect had not been sworn into office.

Individuals who have been elected to serve on the City Council, but have not yet been sworn into office are not legally held to restrictions as to whom they can speak with about city business, as determined by the State of Washington Court of Appeals case Wood v. Battle Ground School District.

At an additional City Council meeting Jan. 12, the council voted 6-1 to terminate Starbard’s contract without cause, effective immediately. In another 6-1 vote that night, the council appointed Wyman to take over as interim city manager.

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Newcastle City Council fires city manager, cuts more than $1 million from budget

January 13, 2010

NEW — 12:22 a.m. Jan. 13, 2010

At a special Newcastle City Council meeting Tuesday night, the council voted 6-1 to terminate City Manager John Starbard’s contract, effective immediately.

The council appointed Rob Wyman, a former community development director for the city, to take over as interim city manager for the next six months.

During the four-hour meeting, the council also cut more than $1 million of expenses from its 2010 budget. Of those cuts, more than $800,000 was cut from the 2010 capital budget. Newcastle is located within the Issaquah School District.

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School board, Newcastle City Council share info, goals at joint meeting

May 19, 2009

Issaquah School Board and Newcastle City Council members met to discuss issues of mutual interest May 14 in Newcastle. Read more