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Key reason why Priest has earned my vote | Election letters
I am writing to share a key reason — among many — why Skip Priest has earned my vote to remain Federal Way’s mayor.
Due to worsening local effects of the Great Recession, the city faced a multimillion-dollar projected financial deficit upon Skip becoming Federal Way’s first directly-elected mayor in late 2010.
As the city’s new chief executive, he led staff in creating a two-year budget (for 2011 and 2012) that eliminated the deficit and created an emergency reserve; while preserving the police department, parks maintenance and other essential city service levels. Skip rapidly developed this successful, budget-balancing strategy by reducing management overhead, freezing open positions and through what he calls “frugal innovation” (that’s short-hand for creative, internal belt-tightening measures that have minimal or no impact on public services).
This successful strategy was only possible because of Skip’s considerable knowledge of complex state/local government finance and internal city organization familiarity, gained during his three terms in the state Legislature, and many years of prior service as a Federal Way City Council member and mayor.
The results are impressive and documented in the current and previous biennial city budgets that were unanimously approved by city council. During 2011-12, $2.553 million in cost was reduced in the General Fund (police, parks maintenance and most other city services are budgeted there), of which $1.3 million is continuing savings in the current budget. Of that total, $670,000 was saved through expense reductions in travel/training, employee health care, job reorganization and other “frugal innovation.” The Great Recession’s adverse economic effects continue to keep state and local government revenues depressed. Federal Way residents cannot do better by casting aside Skip Priest’s vast knowledge that we clearly need to guide city finances now and in the near future.
Dave Berger, Federal Way