Public Official Awards for 2016 | Inside Politics

Each year I try and note special awards for issues and leaders in the community. Categories change each year, and 2016 was a very special year. Here are your winners.

“Worst Idea of the Year,” (actually worst idea for any year): The winner is former Chief of Staff Brian Wilson for thinking a fish warehouse was a good replacement for the iconic Weyerhaeuser property and getting Mayor Jim Ferrell to go along with it.

“Best Timing” award is a tie between former Planning and Community Development Director Michael Morales and new Director Brian Davis. Morales for getting himself fired before the announcement of the fish warehouse and Davis for arriving after the announcement.

“Best Double Talk” award: view former Council member Kelly Maloney’s soliloquy “I’m on your side, but not on your side,” from the September council workshop on the fish warehouse.

“Most Fun Reason to Call a Meeting of the City Council” award goes to council members Maloney and Susan Honda. Their reason? Mayor Ferrell was being “uncooperative.”

“Most Misleading Reason for Calling for a Council Meeting” goes to the Federal Way City Council and mayor, who called for a special council meeting to get public input on the proposed Tacoma methanol plant for the day after Maloney and Honda and the city attorney went to Tacoma to testify against the project.

The “Actions Speak Louder than Words” award goes to Mayor Ferrell and the City Council for giving words of support about homeless people while supporting a plan to run them out of town.

The “Kids Come First” award goes to school Superintendent Tammy Campbell for starting a new mentor program to match more adult role models with students. The school board shares the award for keeping its focus on education and not being distracted by some residents who want to blame students for all the crime in the city.

The award for the “Fastest Political U- turn” goes to Mayor Ferrell, who announced with some appearance of accomplishment that a fish warehouse at the old Weyerhaeuser location would be a “positive addition” to our community. One week and 350 irate voters later, Ferrell went neutral and said we have to follow a legal process in reviewing the property. A close second is Councilman Mark Koppang, who initially sounded in favor of the fish warehouse but one week later was bemoaning “warehouse anyway.”

“Best Political Commercial” goes to candidate for governor Bill Bryant, who highlighted his concern about traffic jams by ordering a pizza while sitting in one. Tina Podlodowski’s commercial with people trying to pronounce her name was runner-up.

And the “Narcissist” award could only go to one person, Donald Trump, whose lack of grace even in victory makes uniting the country much harder.

Best “New Nickname” award goes to Mr. Federal Way for noticing that Donald Trump and Jim Ferrell tend to engage in hyperbole and called Ferrell “Ferump.”

“Time to Step Up” award goes to Councilwoman Lydia Assefa-Dawson, who is now through her learning phase and needs to show the leadership for those in need that was expected when she was elected.

The “Legacy” award goes to Jeanne Burbidge and Joann Piquette for their perseverance in getting the Performing Art and Events Center done. The grand opening will be in a few months. Burbidge can get her award bronzed if she uses her last year in office to make a full transition to the new form of government.

And the “High Expectations” award goes to new state democratic representatives Mike Pellicciotti and Kristine Reeves. You won, you’re smart, your party controls the house, you got good committee assignments and there are very high expectations for you. And the opposing party is keeping track. Good luck!

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. He can be reached at

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