JACK MAYNE: Interim City Managers are proving they can actually get things done

Commentary by Senior Writer Jack Mayne

(click “Play” button to hear audio version:)

The terms interim or acting city manager have come to mean people who get something done where little was done before.

First example was Bob Jean; an interim city manager of Normandy Park who found a highly damaging financial flaw and fixed it even though the previously fired city manager had messed it up.

Then, Des Moines City Manager Tony Piasecki retired and Assistant City Manager Mike Matthias became interim City Manager and kept the city on track for a major new development that will be an eventual commercial success.

At the start of this year an election wiped out the former majority of the SeaTac City Council. The new council fired the city manager and hired a politician’s buddy who was an unmitigated disaster. But then SeaTac turned to the well-experienced city economic development manager, Joe Scorcio. He won the solid support of the Council as interim manager. He acted quickly and successfully to lay siege to the arrogant Port of Seattle by pushing back on tree removal. Many hope he will stay until he retires in 2018 and the Council may even make him permanent until that retirement

The final example was brought on by the unexpected, and some say political firing of two-year Burien City Manager Kamuron Gurol.

The Council hired retired Des Moines city manager Tony Piasecki to be interim Burien manager. Piasecki has proved one important thing about being an “interim” city manager – he understands that he is only going to be around a relatively brief time so he might as well do what is right and the facts require, not doing what is politically expedient.

Piasecki told Council he had added councilmember’s responses to citizen’s letter in the usual pre-meeting packet of material. Then he asked the council if he should continue the inclusion – but instead of a quick answer, the Council held a long and confusing – sometimes meandering discussion that produced no clear decision.

So Interim City Manager Piasecki said, in effect, if you can’t decide what you want, I will make the decision and “this is what I will do.”

It is sweet to have an “Interim” leader who will do what a regular manager might not dare to do – make a hard decision.

Sometimes it is good business to have interim managers.


3 Responses to “JACK MAYNE: Interim City Managers are proving they can actually get things done”
  1. C. Carswell says:

    A reporter who can not tell the difference between an “Interim City
    Manager” and an “Acting City Manager,” and the different roles of each,
    has no business telling people what comprises good governance. Once
    again, Jack Mayne is dazed and confused.

    Good to see Mayne has maintained his snuggly relationship with his ‘ol
    Lefty City Government buddies, even after they’ve been put out to pasture.
    As a press apologist, he provides an invaluable service for Jean, Piasecki
    and Scorcio. There is SO MUCH to report on in these cities, yet Jack’s
    acts of omission (rather than the normal agenda-driven CO-mission) keep
    getting larger.

    Reckless and deceitful reporting should have consequences.

    • Jack Mayne says:

      There may be someone in the area who wrote this note lambasting me for being an idiot, but he was not who we thought he was. When I sent him an email asking about this somewhat nasty complaint, Christopher Carswell responded, “Sorry, but I think you might have the wrong email address. I would take you up on your challenge if I had the fainest notion on what you were referring to :)”

      When I wrote to the e-mail address we had and it turned out to be a man from another part of the world. “Well I’m from South Africa, so I don’t think there would be any benefit to a US citizen stealing my identity.” and in another post, he said, “Hope you find this guy, he seems like a bit of a twat.” and another comment noted, “I’ve recently immigrated to New Zealand though, so I will have a somewhat cynical view on my mother country for the foreseeable future.
      Kindest Regards,

      So the person who wrote the original comment seems to be flying under false colours.

    • Vicki Lockwood says:

      To the Phony “See Cars Well”:
      Your comments re: Jack Mayne are out of touch with reality in critical areas and to severe degrees! Mr. Mayne has forgotten more about City Managers than you obviously think you know. He is acutely aware of the difference between an “Interim” and an “Acting” City Manager. He has a good command of the English language and a depth of experience that gives him the ability to evaluate City Manager’s performance (regardless of the adjectives accompanying their title). I appreciated Jack’s comments and agree with his evaluations. People who hide behiind phony names have zero credibility with me. .