Mukilteo’s mayor behind shakeup at City Hall

MUKILTEO — When running for office last fall, Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said that her top priority was to reshape City Hall.

She’s holding to that promise. The city administrator and two top public works officials have been let go since Gregerson took office in January.

Gregerson made no secret of her intention to eliminate the city administrator position, contending it wasn’t necessary in a city of Mukilteo’s size — about 20,000 residents — when there’s a full-time mayor. Joe Hannan, who held the administrator position for six years, was let go in January. Hannan was paid $118,000 per year.

Former finance director Scott James, who was hired under the previous administration, recently left on his own to take the same job in Edmonds.

Mukilteo is paying a consultant $11,000 to study the city’s executive department and human resources functions and recommend a structuring plan. Mukilteo has never employed a person with the title of human resources director, Gregerson said. Those duties were handled by executive assistant Shirley Engdahl until her retirement last year. Former Mayor Joe Marine had discussed hiring a contract HR manager.

“I’m hoping to get these experts in there to help us figure the most efficient way and the best way to provide that service and lead the city,” she said.

As for her own job, Gregerson doesn’t expect that description to change. She inherited Marine’s salary of $70,800 per year.

She said she’s been working about 60 hours per week.

“I signed up for the job as described, at the salary it was at,” Gregerson said. “I’m definitely not looking for more money. I ran to be a full-time mayor and that’s what I’m doing.”

In public works, superintendent Marc Larson and assistant city engineer Jim Niggemyer were let go about three weeks ago.

Larson was second in charge under public works director Rob McGaughey and had been with the city for about 10 years, Gregerson said. Niggemyer had worked for Mukilteo for about six years.

“They weren’t terminated for cause,” McGaughey said.

McGaughey, hired last year by Marine, had new ideas for those positions, and Gregerson agreed. They’re looking for people with different skill sets.

For the engineer position, “we want to have a capacity to do design work in house, do our own engineering work,” as opposed to hiring contractors, he said.

The former superintendent spent a lot of time in the field, and officials are looking for “more of a management type of position, more of a true manager than a guy who actually turns a wrench,” McGaughey said. “We have people who are union employees who do all the work (in the field) already.”

It’s part of a shift toward more thorough planning, McGaughey said. For example, while there are priority lists of sidewalk projects and road projects, there isn’t a procedure for making sure those lists get followed.

Often, a sidewalk will be built or a street repaired on a complaint basis or if grant money is available rather than according to an established priority, he said.

Also, in the planning department, a three-quarters position is being added to do technical mapping and design work, Gregerson said.

“We have a great opportunity to shape the team that’s leading the city and I’m excited about where we’re going,” she said.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; bsheets@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders apprentice Janette Alhanati (left) and journeyman Kurt Warwick construct wall panels for an upcoming boat project with Linblad Expedition Holdings. A federal grant from the Northwest Workforce Council will allow Nichols Brothers to add more apprentices to its workforce starting in January 2018.
Whidbey Island boatbuilder gets hiring boost

The grant from the Northwest Workforce Council will help expand the company’s apprenticeship program.

Most Read