Council Feb. 25 set to approve hiring of new Edmonds parks and recreation director

Among the items on the Edmonds City Council agenda for Tuesday, Feb. 25 is to approve the hiring of Angela Feser as the city’s new Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director.

Under the employment contract before the council for approval, Feser — now director of parks and recreation for the City of Sammamish — will earn $169,166 annually, plus benefits. 

Prior to the 7 p.m. business meeting, the council will meet at 6:30 p.m. to hear an Annual Report from South County Fire and Rescue.

Among the other items on the council business meeting agenda:

– Approval of an interlocal agreement with the Edmonds School District that establishes a protocol for both the district and the Edmonds Police Department related to law enforcement access of video surveillance footage in schools.

– Approval of an ordinance amending the city’s unit lot subdivision application procedure. At last week’s council meeting, staff described this as a small change that would re-order the steps in the process. (Read more here.)

– A presentation by the Association of Washington Cities on its workers compensation program.

– A December 2019 financial presentation

– Discussion of a council resolution, proposed by Councilmember Kristiana Johnson, asking Community Transit to consider an alternate path for extending the Swift Blue Line into downtown Edmonds along Highway 104.

Both meetings will be in the council chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N. You can see the complete business meeting agenda here.


11 Replies to “Council Feb. 25 set to approve hiring of new Edmonds parks and recreation director”

  1. This whole situation smells like the fish cleaning table out on the Edmonds fishing pier.
    So Mayor Mike Nelson recommended her, right? What is their relationship? This salary is above the max range for the position. She appears to have the experience, so I won’t get into whether or not she’s qualified, but why are we starting her at MORE than the salary range for this position? From the City of Edmonds’ job descriptions, this position is NR-20, with a max pay rate at Step 7 of $164, 239 annually. Edmonds’ pay ranges are significantly higher than the market average elsewhere, as noted on Why is that?


  2. The Edmonds taxpayers cannot afford this. This madness has got to stop!!

    Council must not approve this salary!

    Fred Gouge


    1. All positions at the director level are typically paid more than the mayor. It initially sounds illogical that subordinates are paid more than their boss, but it actually makes sense. It makes sense because hired staff must possess qualifications that match a job description; an elected mayor just needs to get enough votes and may have no real qualifications. City managers are paid much more than mayors, and more than directors, because they must have certain qualifications. Mayors in communities that have city managers are elected as council members and then selected each year by the council members; it is not a full time position.


  3. Attracting and retaining top talent is exceptionally hard, particularly in the Puget Sound region, with unemployment well below the (already low) national average. I think the Mayor and council must prioritize finding the right person for the right seat. If that pay level is a little more than planned, it’s worth the investment. We’re about to embark on a transformational (and expensive) civic park remodel. Finding the right person to replace Ms. Hite for this position is a critical decision.

    The only problem I have with this hire is the message it sends to the other city directors. Nine months ago, the city council voted 4-3 to decline to provide market based raises to the existing directors. It’s almost always less expensive in this economy to keep your existing talented employees than it is to fill an open director level position. Unless I’m mistaken, the city never revisited that recommended pay increase.

    If the city approves this hire, which I hope they do, the next move should revisit the compensation levels of existing directors. Yes, the Mayor and Council are stewards of our tax dollars and those decisions need to be made wisely. However, the most costly and irresponsible decision the council can make here is leave our current directors undercompensated relative to comperable positions in other cities. This decision needs to be a wake-up call to council members who voted against the the raises in May, which includes the Mayor. Treat your people well or they will leave and the financial impact will be worse off for taxpayers than keeping our people now.


    1. And the candidate’s salary includes an increase that’s projected for 2021. The salary range for her position in Sammamish is more than for the same position in Edmonds. I wonder why she wants the job here.


      1. In some ways, this reflects the urgent need to fill the position with a qualified candidate. I believe it would be highly inappropriate for the city to start a $10m park renovation without a qualified director overseeing a project of that compelxity, scope and cost. And the director position has been open for what, 8 months now? That tells me everyone everything I need to know about the availability of qualified candidates at lower pay levels.

        I’ll take an educated guess that the civic park renovation made hiring more difficult. Overseeing that type of project likely required the city to target hiring an existing director with experience managing capital projects o* be required to backfill the missing experience of a lower qualified candidate with six figure consultants.

        Ms. Feser’s experience (accoring to her linkedin page), is indicative of an extremely well qualified candidate with excellent experience for the forthcoming redevelopment and also to lead the overall department in day to day work. *I’m merely speculating*, but she’s not held a single parks director job for more than four years. That could be why she wants the job, as she likes tackling new challenges? I suspect we’ll find out, but her resume would tell me that she’s someone who enjoys tackling a challenge but can get complacent when complex projects aren’t on the horizon. Thus, she seems like the perfect hire for where we are now as a city.


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