City of Edmonds planning manager, associate resign

David Levitan

Edmonds Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin on Monday confirmed the recent resignations of two City of Edmonds planning employees: Senior Planning Manager David Levitan and Associate Planner Michele Szafran.

Levitan, who started his job in January, served as the planning manager for the City of Lake Stevens before coming to Edmonds. An Edmonds resident, he also worked as a planner for the City of Shoreline.

Levitan was a key figure, along with McLaughlin, at Edmonds City Council meetings as the department began its launch of the 2024 Comprehensive Plan update, now underway.

Szafran served as the staff liaison for the Edmonds Historical Preservation Commission.

In addition to overseeing the 2024 Comprehensive Plan update, the planning and development department is responsible for land use information and approvals, building permit review and assistance; long-range city and regional planning; building inspection; coordination of development review processes, development standards, and enforcement of the community development code.

In confirming the resignations, McLaughlin said that “in the interest of employee privacy, I do not have any more to add.”



  1. Is it unusual to have so many senior staff leave the city in just the last few years? Seems the turnover rate is rather high under this mayors leadership.

  2. I smell a scam and mismanagement of the city. We are talking about a city that wants to spend half a million to research a project when the money should go to the schools to pay for programs they were crying about losing.

  3. I enjoyed working with both of them while serving on boards and commissions and wish them the best in the next chapters of their careers.

    1. Agree with you, Jeremy.

      I was very saddened to see Dave had submitted his resignation. I really enjoyed his kind, honest, and intellectual demeanor as he seemed extremely capable, knowledgeable and understood municipality processes; and we certainly needed him for the upcoming comp plan update.

      I was hoping Dave would fill the big VOID left from Kernan Lien and Rob Chave.

      Dave, Happy Trails to you! Your new employer should be ecstatic you are coming on board and their Council too!

      Michele also seemed very knowledgeable and I did not have much interaction with her, but I did hear good compliments. She did a great job of presenting to Council with a complete packet to review.

      So, happy trails to you, Michele and best wishes for future endeavors.

      I believe both will be missed by many.

  4. This is suspiciously troubling as David Levitan was a dedicated civil servant and promoted transparency, honesty and a commitment to the community. You have to wonder what is going on in the planning department?

    1. Diane’s comment seemed quite gracious and sincere coming from a current City Council Person. It certainly had no aura or suggestion of any sort of harassment toward staff on her part anyway. If the only thing Council Members do is always rubber stamp whatever programs Mayors and Staffs recommend; there is no point even having a City Council.

    2. Adrienne F-M, check the job openings at Lake Forest Park. There’s a Director position for their planning Dept. Mr. Levitan is fully qualified to lead a Dept, and I hope he got that promotion. There is a planner job opening at LFP too. Will we see Michelle Z behind that desk soon?

    3. Adrienne,

      Your accusation of Council members is absurd. The Beacon’s article on the resignations of David Levitan and Michele Szafran reports this from former senior planner Brad Shipley:

      “This week, Shipley provided the following statement to the Beacon: “I know that there is frustration with the administration amongst employees … All I will say is that several employees have mentioned that they are waiting for the outcome of the election and are planning to resign if there is no change.”

      Shipley added that he was only referring to Planning and Development and Engineering staff who he has spoken with.”

      Your continuing to blame council members for Nelson’s failures smells like sour grapes.

      1. Ms. Bloom, in my 20 years of the observations of the council only three councilmembers have been banned from communications with Staff for a period of time. You were the first councilmember under the last administration for your interactions with staff. You never agreed your behavior was inappropriate.
        The other two councilmembers are currently on the council.
        Perhaps look a little deeper than sour grapes or read the Heralds front page article.

    4. Adrienne who exactly was being harassed? This article is referencing the Mayor. The Mayor did drive off other employees of the city and we stand to lose more if Nelson is re-elected. This would be a good article to share in a mailing don’t you think
      Voters should be aware?

  5. Adrienne,

    Now you’re just making stuff up. I was never banned from talking with staff. Council has no authority over staff and Council members are not responsible for staff members resigning, regardless of past gossip. The Mayor has authority over staff, so if there are staff issues, resolution falls to the executive branch and so does responsibility. In this case, former staff member Brad Shipley is pointing directly at Mayor Nelson in his comments about recent staff resignations and “several employees” “waiting for the outcome of the election and are planning to resign if there is no change.”

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