City manager hired from Lynnwood

  • John Santana<br>Mill Creek Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:48am

Mill Creek has a new city manager, and he’s coming from right next door.

Steve Nolen, assistant city administrator for Lynnwood, signed a three-year contract with the city of Mill Creek on Tuesday, May 24 to become the ninth manager in Mill Creek’s 22-year history. He starts his new position July 5. His last day with Lynnwood will be June 16.

“I’ve been impressed with the development of Mill Creek,” Nolen told the Mill Creek City Council before it unanimously approved his contract. “I’ve had interest in coming to Mill Creek for several years because I am so impressed by what you’ve done.

“I’m honored to be chosen.”

With Lynnwood, Nolen works in a capacity similar to a city manager, but as an assistant to Mayor Mike McKinnon. Lynnwood is set up so the mayor administers the day-to-day functions of city government.

Nolen’s hiring ended a four-month search that began in February, shortly after longtime Mill Creek manager Bob Stowe resigned to take the same position with Bothell. The Mill Creek City Council spent nine hours on Sunday, May 22 interviewing the five finalists for the position, and discussed Nolen’s contract and appointment in an executive session prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting.

“All five candidates were highly qualified,” said Mill Creek Mayor Terry Ryan, who along with interim city manager Mike Caldwell negotiated Nolen’s contract.

Other Council members praised Nolen.

“(He) demonstrated the better traits of Bob Stowe and Mike Caldwell,” Dale Hensley said.

“I truly believe we made the right choice,” added Donna Michelson.

“There was a lot of good people, but (he) really stood out,” Mark Bond said.

Nolen has been with the city of Lynnwood since October of 2003. Prior to that he was an interim assistant city manager in Covington and worked for King County in several different capacities before that.

“Ideally, I would have stayed in Lynnwood for a longer period. However, as some of you know, my career goal for some time has been to become a city administrator or city manager,” Nolen wrote in a letter to city of Lynnwood employees. “I had hoped that could happen here in Lynnwood. However, it became clear to me during the budget discussions last year, that would not happen in the reasonably forseeable future. So when this opportunity in Mill Creek presented itself, I felt compelled to apply. I feel truly honored to have been chosen among a group of very qualified finalists.”

In his letter, Nolen also wrote, “I know my stay has been short (11.6 dog years), but I am gratified about what we have been able to accomplish.”

Before entering government with King County in 1994, Nolen worked as a reporter for daily newspapers in suburban Phoenix and served a fellowship with the Arizona Republic. Nolen came to the Puget Sound region as a bureau manager for the Bellevue Journal American and Kent-based Valley Daily News daily newspapers, which currently operate as the King County Journal.

Nolen will earn $96,500 per year in salary, plus benefits, and the contract is renewable annually after the first three years.

A Brier resident, who has lived in Snohomish County for 15 years, Nolen, 52, is married with two adult daughters and two grandchildren. He is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in journalism.

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