June 15, 1998
Woodinville, Bothell city managers on the way out?
by Andrew Walgamott
The future of both Woodinville and Bothell's city managers will be addressed today, June 15. In Bothell, sources say City Manager Rick Kirkwood may leave his position as chief administrator today. Mayor Debbie Treen said to expect an announcement related to the city manager at tonight's council meeting, but couldn't elaborate.
In Woodinville, Mayor Don Brocha said the City Council will take steps to deal with perceived problems with city administration tonight. "There is a potentially very large problem for the council to discuss in Executive Session and talk over with the City Manager [Roy Rainey]," Brocha said. Before Woodinville's closed-door Executive Session, Karen Steeb, Tree Board chair, is expected to read a letter during public comment complaining about Rainey's treatment of the city's boards and commissions.
Steeb's letter details her version of a trying relationship between Rainey and the Tree Board. She also claims he is trying to separate citizens from the government decision-making process by doing away with the city's advisory groups. Though stopping shy of calling for Rainey's resignation, Steeb states at the end of the letter, "The future of the City of Woodinville is in jeopardy and I charge each of you to act accordingly."
Brocha outlined the city council's position on its citizen's advisory committees. "We want and honor the participation of citizen boards. We appreciate their contributions. Their recommendations are recommendations we consider," he said.
Deputy Mayor Scott Hageman believes some action will be taken after the session and said there were several options open to the council though he couldn't detail any. Councilwoman Marsha Engel thinks Rainey may be asked to step down. She worried about the city's image. "As early as 1993, we were developing a reputation among the Association of Washington Cities as being unstable," said Engel, "and with our antics in Council Chambers we were the laughing stock of the new Suburban Cities [Association]. Under Rainey's management, that seemed to be fading out."
Sometimes brusque, Rainey is known for calling things as he sees them.
Kirkwood's three-year contract is up near the end of this month. Rumors have abounded about friction between him and the council for the past several months. He has managed Bothell for the last three years, and seven years with Pismo Beach, California, before that.
Rainey took over as interim city manager after Joe Meneghini resigned last April. He was hired permanently in September after the council spent over $20,000 in a nation-wide search for a new Executive. He has served as city manager for Sun Valley, Idaho, Brookings, Oregon, and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and acting city manager for Norman, Oklahoma.
The city manager controls the day to day operations of the city and serves as the contact person between council and staff.