By Jack Mayne 
At its first meeting of 2018, the SeaTac City Council started a new biennium with its own reorganization and welcoming two new members.
Mayor Michael Siefkes was reelected in a voice vote, and Councilmember Erin Sitterley was elected unanimously to replace Pam Fernald as deputy mayor. The Council also welcomed new members Clyde Hill and Joel Wachtel.
“The nice thing about the Council is we have a certain level of trust,” Siefkes said after the unanimous voice vote. “We have interested, knowledgeable people that really care about this city and have the interests of all of us at heart.”
He said there was a level of trust between members “and I appreciate every one of them and for the time and effort they put into working for the city.”
Erin Sitterley was the lone nominee, and was elected unanimously by voice vote. “Just like always, we are here for you.”
The election was followed by a reception with cake and conversation.
Although the two new SeaTac City Councilmembers – Clyde Hill and Joel Wachtel – and reelected Deputy Mayor Pam Fernald were sworn it earlier, they were publically sworn in Tuesday night by SeaTac City Clerk Kristina Gregg.
Pam Fernald said since she was unopposed, nobody could have voted for her and she’d still be on the dias, adding she “is very appreciative” of the many citizens who did check her box on the ballot for her third term. “I thank you for the privilege to serve four more years.”
Clyde Hill said “it is truly an honor to have the opportunity to serve my community up here — a little overwhelming. I am here to represent you, I am a neighbor, don’t forget that. I am concerned with the same things that concern you and if I am not aware of the things that concern you, please let me know.”
Joel Wachtel also thanked the people of SeaTac.
“A lot of people know me. Nothing’s changed, I’m still Joel. You can get me at my house, you can get me here, but I want to be the best I can to help make SeaTac better – if you need me, call me.”
Scorcio on changes
The Council concurred with City Manager Joe Scorcio to have an open house on the afternoon of Feb. 27, before the regular Council meeting, to celebrate the city’s 28th anniversary as a city and to let people see the physical improviements in city hall made over the past year, including remodeling the third floor Council offices and the lobby area of the building.
Scorcio also told Council that $802,000 has been added to the city finances by the sale of city-owned properties previously approved by Council.
The city is losing two employees, he said. Graphic Information Systems coordinator Zinta Smidchens is going to work for the City of Seattle and Colleen Brandt-Schluter, the SeaTac human services manager is going to work for Burien in the same capacity. New people are being sought but he said some reclassification and reorganization may be part of the changes.
Changes in staff and apps
Scorcio also introduced new graphic information specialist Justin Rich.
The Council agreed to permit the city to share data from the traffic signals with a private company, Traffic Technologies Services. Eventually – but not immediately – drivers would be able receive information in their cars that tells when a traffic signal will change, allowing them to know when they should slow down or to accelerate to pass through a signal controlled interstection.
Public Works Director Will Appleton said SeaTac is one of the first cities to test such new technology. He noted it helps the city with its traffic control activities as well as the company in its development of the new technology. The collection of data will not affect “in any way” the traffic flows in the city, Appleton said.
The Council was also told of a new vendor for the city’s existing phone app. SeaTac Click-N-Request, has been replaced with a new app to improve service. The new phone app is available to download for free by searching for “SeeClickFix” then downloading the app. The new provider allows the city to send questions to the reporting citizen so further details can be available for city workers. The new system allows the city to tell the reporting citizen what is being done about their issue. Further details are available on the city website.
New Councilmember Clyde Hill said he has used the system and was very satisfied on the way the SeaTac city works staff responded to problems. Councilmembers agreed the new system is better than the old one.