Issaquah is a base camp for Northwest adventure - close enough to enjoy the metropolitan amenities of Seattle and Bellevue, while still mere footsteps from the spectacular Cascade Mountains.
Named Best Burb by Sunset, one of the Best Towns for Families by Family Circle and one of the Best Towns by Outside, the City is centered within the Issaquah Alps (Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains) and Lake Sammamish, which attract countless outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, paddlers, and paragliders. Today, Issaquah (population of 37,000+) combines its rich history with a modern atmosphere, providing art, music, and entertainment for its residents and guests. Downtown Issaquah boasts many historical attractions including the iconic Shell Station/Feed Store and the historic Train Depot.
Issaquah also features a Saturday farmers market, professional live theater performances, a seasonal ArtWalk, a salmon hatchery and a zoo. Every October, the community hosts a celebration for more than 150,000 people during the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival.
With top-rated schools and a growing business scene which includes Costco’s world headquarters, Issaquah is known for its innovation and commitment to sustainability; family values; outdoor recreation; and environmental stewardship.
The City of Issaquah operates under the Mayor-Council form of government. An elected seven-member council serves as the City’s legislative body and the elected Mayor, Mary Lou Pauly, serves as the City’s chief executive officer. Elected in 2017, she previously served on the Issaquah City Council for four years.
The City’s total budget for 2019 is approximately $145 million, with a general fund budget of $53 million and a capital budget of $37 million. The City employs nearly 250 full-time employees.
Opportunities and Challenges
The community has grown from a small city of 8,300 residents in 1990 to just over 37,000 in 2019. The growth has included annexations as well as the development of two large urban villages, one on the Grand Ridge plateau and one on Cougar Mountain. Since the passage of the state’s Growth Management Act in 1990, Issaquah has planned for this growth and continues to experience the exciting rewards and challenges of being an urban center at the eastern edge of the Growth Boundary.
Over the last two years, the City Council has been discussing financial strategies for capital improvements in the City to address needed infrastructure improvements, recognizing that ongoing revenues are not keeping up with expected levels of service and necessary investments in infrastructure. As part of its capital needs, the City is examining its facility needs including what investments may be required to ensure efficient and effective service delivery over the long term. The Council will continue to develop and implement this strategy through 2019.
Also, the City Council is piloting a transition from its current legislative process – three standing council committees (Infrastructure, Land & Shore, Services & Safety) – to a study session model. The transition will occur over several months in the Fall and will require patience and flexibility as both staff and councilmembers adjust.
To ensure Issaquah’s community values and vision are reflected in future decision-making, the City recently engaged with the community to create a citywide strategic plan. Implementation includes performance monitoring and reporting, which will be crucial to its success.
A significant focus for the City in the next several years is supporting the Finance Department as it streamlines and modernizes the City's financial management practices and systems to improve its efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability.
The baby boom generation is reaching traditional retirement age. Supporting Issaquah’s Human Resources Department and the organization’s needs as long-term employees retire is critical. At the same time, Issaquah recognizes the value of mature workers and need to continue to develop strategies to retain and engage them.
The City must continue to position itself as an employer of choice and a high-performing workforce. Our employees should have meaningful opportunities to grow their careers; see their contributions to the community’s overall quality of life; pursue innovation; and build connections with community members and colleagues.
About the Position:
Under the direction of the Mayor, the City Administrator is responsible for the efficient and economic administration of city government through effective management of human, financial and material resources. Work is performed and priorities are determined according to the policy directives of the Mayor and City Council. The City Administrator directs, administers and coordinates the activities and functions of the various City offices, departments, commissions and boards in implementing the requirements of City ordinances and the policies of the City Council.
Positions reporting to the City Administrator include: Deputy City Administrator, Police Chief, Finance Director, Parks & Recreation Director, Public Works Engineering Director, Public Works Operations Director, Human Resources Director, Development Services Director and Office of Sustainability Director. Legal counsel and fire services are contracted outside the organization.
Provides efficient and responsible City operations through managerial leadership and direction; designs and maintains organizational structure, establishes major operational objectives, monitors progress and takes necessary corrective action; assigns project and program responsibilities to department heads and works with them in developing goals.
Develops short and long-term plans to meet the goals and objectives of the City; directs the development of City operation and presents policy recommendations to the City Council regarding all aspects of City programs and services; implements the policies established by the Council.
Reviews and approves or disapproves the hiring, termination or changes in status of employment and pay for City employees; oversees labor relations function of the City and recommends bargaining guidelines and settlements to the Mayor and City Council.
Oversees preparation of the agenda for City Council meetings, consulting with the Council President, Mayor and department heads as needed to identify appropriate issues to include on the agenda; reviews and approves staff reports and recommendations.
Oversees preparation of the City's annual operating budget; establishes administrative objectives for the budget and identifies budgetary constraints; evaluates budget proposals submitted by department heads, develops final budget recommendations for consideration by the Mayor and City Council, and makes oral presentations at budget hearings regarding specific budget proposals.
Monitors the City's financial condition by regularly evaluating revenue/expenditure trends and authorizing specialized studies, recommending to the City Council changes in service levels or in user fees, utility rates and taxes as necessary to maintain a sound financial condition; plans and prepares data for grants and funded programs.
Oversees the City's intergovernmental relations function representing the City with federal, state, county and regional agencies; advocates City positions on proposed legislation and program regulations.
Recommends appointment of department heads to Mayor, and evaluates department head performance.
Performance Dimensions and Expectations:
The preferred and successful candidate will possess skills and abilities in the areas of leadership, constituent relations, communications and planning:
Lead courageously: Continuously build and promote the strength, reputation and image of the City of Issaquah. Engage, motivate and inspire staff and the community around a shared vision and mission. Demonstrate principled leadership, personal courage and decisiveness.
Build talent pools: Hire, mentor, develop and manage staff. Continue to build and reinforce a cohesive, dedicated and highly effective team. Champion diversity.
Drive effective external communications: Develop and nurture mission-critical relationships with community partners, business and civic leaders, political leaders and the media.
Build consensus: Collaborate, facilitate and develop relationships. Coordinate intergovernmental activities with the Mayor, City Council, city officials, business, government agencies and the community.
Promote open communication: Maintain an environment where communication is open, direct, encouraged, rewarded and relevant.
Provide visionary insight: Translate big picture vision and goals from the City of Issaquah’s Strategic Plan into both long and short-range plans that are comprehensive, realistic and effective. Identify key opportunities resulting from the intersection of external events (political, social, economic, demographic and environmental) to develop and strengthen the City’s effectiveness.
Manage change: Recommend and oversee the change management process, including successful communication strategies; involving others in the implementation of change; and monitoring and reinforcing process and success. Create a work environment that encourages original and innovative solutions.
The Ideal Candidate:
For this important role, the Mayor seeks a dynamic, credible and unifying leader who is deeply committed to the City of Issaquah. The successful candidate will be a big-picture thinker, who gives attention to details and is able to implement direction from policymakers and deliver the level of services and quality of life that residents expect and value.
The ideal candidate will inspire trust by communicating honestly; be trustworthy and consistent; follow through on commitments; and create an atmosphere of transparency and integrity, marked by fair, respectful behavior. The preferred candidate will communicate a vision that is aligned with the strategy and direction of the City of Issaquah. Other key roles include clarifying teams’ involvement in the vision; inspiring a sense of energy and ownership; creating a culture of high performance; and recognizing the efforts of others.
The new City Administrator must have demonstrated leadership skills and set a high standard by engaging people at all levels – from staff and councilmembers to community members and partners.
The preferred candidate must be eager to make a personal investment in the long-term success of the City. Proven leadership experience and political acumen are essential. Candidates should bring strengths in both external relations and internal management, with the ability to manage the two.
Bachelor’s degree in public administration or related field, and ten years of progressively responsible management experience in public administration; Master's degree in public administration or related field is desirable; or any combination of education and experience, which would provide the applicant with the desired skills, knowledge, and ability required to perform the job. Experience serving in a local government leadership position is highly desirable.
Persons interested in this position must submit a cover letter and a current resume detailing size and scope of leadership and management experience.
If you have questions regarding this announcement, please call Marissa Karras at (360) 956-1336. The position will remain open until filled; however, the screening process will move quickly.
Please submit your application materials as soon as possible but no later than June 12, 2019 by visiting karrasconsulting.net and clicking on “view open positions.”
The salary range for this position is $158K-$202K. Benefits include comprehensive medical, dental, vision and life insurance, deferred compensation, public retirement system, long-term disability insurance, flexible spending account, holiday, and leave benefits. Terms of a professional services agreement are competitive and negotiable as part of the total compensation package.
The City of Issaquah is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in its workforce. It is also the policy of the City to assure equal employment opportunities on the basis of qualifications and merit without discrimination because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, marital status, or sensory, mental or physical disability.