The Federal Way City Council held its last meeting of the year with a celebration, the confirmation of a new city administrator, and a look at the legislative session ahead.
Mayor Jim Ferrell presented a key to the city to former deputy mayor, councilmember, planning commissioner, senior advisory commissioner and community volunteer Hope Elder.
“It’s her selfless service to those in the community that we want to honor today,” Ferrell said. “It’s just an astonishing record of service.”
Elder’s local service began in 1990 on the city logo committee, when Federal Way was a brand-new city. She served four years on the city council, two years as deputy mayor, and has been appointed to eight terms on the planning commission, starting in 1998.
Councilmember Jack Dovey recalled Elder providing the decisive fourth vote to build Celebration Park — then a controversial project, now an indelible part of the city.
“She’s been just a stalwart in our community,” Dovey said. “Her heart is with the people, not about the position.”
Elder also spent her time volunteering with organizations including the Federal Way Community Caregiving Network and the Federal Way Soroptimist’s club.
“Like everyone here has said, you’re ever-present, you’re always there, you serve the community whole-heartedly,” Councilmember Lydia Assefa-Dawson said. “You lead by example, and thank you for doing that.”
The council confirmed Ferrell’s appointment of Community Development Director Brian Davis to the position of city administrator. Davis has been interim city administrator since February, Ferrell said, juggling both that and the community development job during that time.
Davis has been with the city for six years and previously served in government in Oregon. Ferrell said current Planning Manager Keith Niven will move into Davis’ former role as community development director. Niven held that director role before at the City of Issaquah, prior to joining Federal Way in 2021. He also has more than 20 years of city planning experience in the Puget Sound and in Arizona, according to the city.
The council will re-convene next in January.
Also on Tuesday:
The council discussed plans to address addiction and homelessness in Federal Way. Councilmember Erica Norton proposed a program that would combine relapse prevention, job training and housing assistance. Norton said she plans to assemble consultants and experts and make a presentation in January, as well as solicit the ideas and feedback of other council members to make the project a group effort.
The council unanimously approved spending an extra $112,700 for work on the Federal Way Community Center slide replacement project. Parks Director John Hutton updated the city on the project, which will involve removing concrete footings, installing a new slide and stairs in the leisure pool, replacing the aquatic play unit with a new one and plastering the pool. Demolition has already begun, but staff have discovered greater-than-expected corrosion that will need to be repaired, increasing the estimated cost of the project.
The council unanimously approved the receipt of a one-time $100,000 grant from King County for small businesses and community groups.
The city council’s annual retreat is Saturday, Jan. 21, at Dumas Bay Centre. The public is invited. The council will spend most of the retreat talking about plans for downtown, according to Deputy Mayor Susan Honda.
Mayor Ferrell will deliver the State of the City address live at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center.