Qualifications for managing a city | Federal Way letters
September 20, 2010 · 7:06 PM
In a recent letter to the editor, the writer wondered why Skip Priest would run for the elected mayor position that he opposed last year when the change to an elected mayor was on the ballot. Those of us who were against this change in city government said over and over again that we didn’t want to lose the professional management of a city manager. Whenever that position was open, the Federal Way City Council would hire a search firm to look across the country for an experienced city manager who usually had certification from a professional city managers organization. We opposed the change to an elected mayor because we were afraid that a mayor could be elected who may not have these qualifications.
I believe Skip is running because he wants to make sure we have an experienced manager in the mayor’s office. Voters do not have the ability to find mayoral candidates through a professional search firm. We can only vote for those citizens who decide to run, even if they have none of the qualifications that a city manager must have.
The largest part of the mayor's duties is supervising the department heads and making sure that all the departments are working efficiently and providing the services they are supposed to provide. It is like being the CEO of a business. He must lead, motivate and encourage all of the city staff. Skip has run his own business and has been an executive in large companies where he developed these management skills.
Jim Ferrell, the other mayor candidate, has been a prosecutor. He may have supervised a few assistants, but his primary job was to investigate cases and either take them to trial or negotiate plea deals. That experience does not qualify him to run a large business like the City of Federal Way. He has not had to supervise a large group of managers that run a variety of departments.
The remaining duties of a mayor consist of listening to our citizens, chairing city council meetings, dealing with other government entities, proposing ideas to the city council and various other duties. I believe both Jim and Skip can handle these duties because of their previous experience in elected positions. But since the management of the city is the main part of the mayor’s job, I believe Skip is far more qualified.
Don Dennis, Federal Way