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No plans to hire city administrator in Black Diamond

With the departure of two influential staff members, including the city administrator, city of Black Diamond employees are a little busier than usual. And while at least one City Council member staunchly supports hiring a new city administrator, Mayor Dave Gordon says he has no plans to fill that position.

“I don’t plan on hiring a city administrator for the rest of my term,” Gordon said following the July 17 City Council meeting.

Former City Administrator Christy Todd resigned on May 15, after about four months on the job. Todd and the city settled on a severance package that officially kept her under contract until July 31. As part of the agreement, Todd terminated her sexual harassment allegation complaint against the mayor. Todd alleged the mayor made harassing and unwelcome comments, emails and behavior toward her.

Since Gwendolyn Voelpel was terminated without cause in 2009, Black Diamond has gone through four city administrators, none of whom stayed in the position for longer than one year.

City Clerk Brenda Martinez has taken over the role of assistant city administrator, a title she previously held for more than two years. She told the Reporter Monday that she has been busy, but that the mayor has taken over a majority of the city administrator’s functions.

“Things seem to be moving forward,” Martinez said.

Stacey Welsh resigned as the city’s Community Development Director in mid-June, taking a job as Associate Planner for the city of Federal Way, according to her Linkedin profile. To cope with her loss, Gordon added Community Development Director to Aaron Nix’s title. Nix also works as the Natural Resources Director.

In response to the leaner than usual staff numbers, the city has contracted with Parametrix to work as a senior contract planner in phase two of plat C in The Villages project.

“This is not intended to be a permanent solution, only a temporary fix,” City Councilwoman Janie Edelman told attendees of the July 17 meeting.

Gordon has also instructed staff to limit the hours for accepting city permits applications to Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Economic Development Director Andy Williamson said there is no timetable for when those hours would re-expand to every day.

“It is what we have to deal with,” he said. “We have limited funding and are trying to cover the staff positions.”

Councilman Ron Taylor expressed his belief that a city administrator is an important and needed position for the city at the end of the July 17 meeting. He said it’s important to have someone with proper credentials in charge of the city’s major operations.

“I’m not OK with not having a city administrator,” Taylor said at the meeting.

When asked by The Reporter after the meeting about Taylor’s comments, Gordon said he thought there were good processes in place and that city operations were running smoothly.

“I just don’t plan on it without some windfall in revenue,” Gordon said.

 

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