Members of the Edmonds City Council on Monday interviewed two finalists for the Community Services/Economic Development Director position vacated earlier this year by Stephen Clifton: Jackie MacLean, former King County Community & Human Services Director, and Patrick Doherty, the City of Federal Way’s current Community and Economic Development Director.
But it’s unclear whether Mayor Dave Earling will be able to move forward with hiring one of them. That’s because under city code, there is requirement that the council get to interview three candidates, unless a super-majority of the council (which means five of the seven members) agrees to waive that requirement.
Councilmember Joan Bloom told Earling that she wasn’t inclined to approve his request, and instead asked the mayor why additional candidates weren’t brought forward. Earling explained that the city did one search and ended up with no candidates it wanted to interview, so went back out with a new hiring effort. From that search, the city had a pool of “18 or 19” candidates, from which three candidates were initially interviewed by three separate panels: a council/community panel, a department director panel and a staff panel. Only two were advanced for council consideration because “we didn’t think the third candidate matched up very well with what we were looking for,” Earling said.
MacLean, a native of New Zealand, cited her ability to develop strong partnerships during her time at the county and also noted that she kept her job during three separate county administrations. Bloom wondered aloud about MacLean’s lack of economic development focus — she served in the health services field in New Zealand and also spent time as director of King County’s Mental Health Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division before being promoted to oversee the Community & Human Services Department. But MacLean assured councilmembers that she has the leadership skills to focus on both the community services and economic development sides of the job.
You can view MacLean’s Linked In profile here.
Doherty, who managed the City of Seattle’s Design Review Program before take the Federal Way position, said he has extensive experience working with real estate developers and brokers and is committed to promoting collaboration between the public and private sector. While working for the City of Seattle, he said he tackled some tough issues, including the expansion of Children’s Hospital expansion and the University of Washington football stadium. Doherty said he had spent time researching Edmonds, and is impressed by both the level of civic engagement and the vibrant business community.
You can view Doherty’s Linked In proflle here.
Expect more discussion about this issue — including whether the city will need to reopen the search to obtain additional candidates beyond the recommended two — at Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.