Opinion

Federal Way mayor's vision to find path forward for city | Mayor's Memo

The Federal Way City Council seeks applicants for the position that Jim Ferrell vacated after his win in the mayoral race in November.  - Contributed
The Federal Way City Council seeks applicants for the position that Jim Ferrell vacated after his win in the mayoral race in November.
— image credit: Contributed

I’d like to start by wishing everyone a happy New Year!

As your new mayor, I am excited about the year ahead and the opportunities in front of us.

This is the first of what will be regular columns in The Mirror to share news about community issues and new initiatives. I’d like to thank The Mirror for providing this space. Democratic government works best when there is transparency and the public has access to its government. We are fortunate to have a community newspaper that helps inform the public and provides an important forum to residents to communicate their goals and interests.

During the campaign, I heard from voters that they want to see the city move quickly and effectively in 2014 to jump-start economic development and strengthen public safety. I recently announced some important changes to our management structure that will be key to these efforts.

Beginning Jan. 20, our outstanding Police Chief Brian Wilson will serve in a new position as chief of staff, where he and I will work closely with Community and Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty on building our community’s business base.

The first priority is ensuring that current businesses have the conditions they need to stay in Federal Way. Second will be attracting investment and new businesses to Federal Way. Our city is constantly competing with cities throughout the region; my job is to make certain that executives think of Federal Way first as an attractive option for investment or business location.

The anchor of all our economic development work, though, resides in our downtown core.

The voters have asked me to inject a sense of urgency and mission to the long-running discussion about stimulating downtown business development and creating an attractive, walkable downtown.

We must build the future in our downtown, whether it’s the Town Square at the AMC site, a university, the Performing Arts and Conference Center or some combination of major development projects.

There will be issues that have the potential to divide us. The direction for downtown has been a divisive issue at times. My goal as mayor will be to work with the Council and the community to find the path forward.

One of my personal heroes, Robert F. Kennedy, said, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” That has particular poignancy for local politics. If we’re going to achieve the Federal Way we want to live in, we have to build that future together, not fight over it.

We will also make significant strides forward in public safety and we are fortunate to have a strong leader like Deputy Chief Andy Hwang ready to lead the Police Department forward. On Jan. 16, he will begin serving as the interim police chief.

I will work closely with the new chief to ensure we have a fully-staffed police department using modern technology and successful community partnerships like Safe City to proactively battle crime.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be announcing a series of town hall meetings throughout the city to meet with residents and discuss the issues that are important to the community.

In the meantime, people can always contact me with questions, concerns or feedback at the mayor’s office at (253) 835-2402 or jim.ferrell@cityoffederalway.com. I want to hear from you!

I’d like to close with a note of appreciation to our first-elected Mayor Skip Priest. Few people have served their community for as long, or as selflessly as Skip and his wife Trisha Bennett.

I wish them both the best, and the community greatly appreciates their positive impact on Federal Way.

Jim Ferrell is the mayor of Federal Way.

 

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