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

Residents are helping turn Casino Road in a new direction

An initiative backed by a $700,000 grant goes to the community for solutions to the area’s challenges.

Live in Edmonds? Hate speeders?

Edmonds has $35,000 to address local residents’ concerns about speeding in their… Continue reading

Marysville quits fire-department merger talks

Mayor Jon Nehring notified Arlington of the decision in a letter dated Jan. 10.

Everett marchers: ‘There’s too much to protest’ for one sign

About 150 people joined the “March to Impeach” from the waterfront to a county courthouse rally.

Legislation to limit opioid prescriptions under debate

Inslee also has requested a bill that prioritizes medication-assisted treatment for addiction.

Sirens! Flashing lights! — Move over!

We are a confident bunch on what to do when we hear… Continue reading

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Hunter Standley, 6, scoots backward into a cozy cubbyhole in Wee Fit’s sensory room while holding an artificial aquarium. Hunter, who has autism, is with his mom, Breanna Standley, 25, and his grandmother, Barbara Bambrick, 63. They are all from Tulalip. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Family sets feast for the senses

Wee Fit is a new sensory play space in Everett for children on the autism spectrum.

Most Read