Northwest NEWS

November 30, 1998

Front Page

Meet Woodinville's new city manager

Pete Rose

Pete Rose will be Woodinville's new city manager.

by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Woodinville officials hope that Pete Rose brings a little of the "Medical Lake Miracle" when he comes to town at the first of the year as the new city manager.

   No, it's not some skin rash ointment or new brand of bottled water, but refers to Rose's success at landing grants for that city's projects.

   During his four years as Medical Lake's city manager, Rose, 46, inherited two of the city's biggest projects ever in construction of a wastewater plant and the rebuilding of three blocks of streets.

   With re-engineering, the former project's price tag dropped from $20 million to $14 million, with the city responsible for $5 million, and half of that being covered with a grant, Rose said. Of the latter, three blocks in the city's central business district were rebuilt with 100 percent grants, and the city's expenses tallied $100,000, he said. That success didn't go unnoticed by his soon-to-be new bosses.

   "The first thing that struck me about this fellow," said Councilwoman Marsha Engel, "is he has a good history of writing grants, which will be good for us."

   Rose said he was able to "hit" on 70 to 75 percent of all the grants Medical Lake applied for. Whether he can replicate that success in Woodinville remains to be seen, but with over $20 million in unfunded capital projects, the city could use a heaping dose of the Medical Lake miracle. Rose knows, though, that regional competition for grants on this side of the Cascades will be more fierce.

   According to Mayor Don Brocha, Rose will likely start work January 4 of next year. The City Council will vote on a final contract Dec. 7. Rose will most likely be paid around $80,000, receive a car allowance, and be compensated for moving his wife and two children to the area.

   In Woodinville, Rose, a thin, bearded man, sees "a place with a lot of energy and potential." During a candidates' night in early November, Rose said from the outside that Woodinville appeared to be in a period of transition where plans are about to become reality. "Who wouldn't want to be in a place like this?" he wondered rhetorically.

   Rose, who has a Masters of Administration in Government, has held a series of municipal positions of increasing responsibility since the early 1980s. He began as Salem, Oregon's general services department supervisor, moved over to the finance department as an administrative analyst, and then served as a manager in the city's fire department.

   By the late 1980s, he wanted to move to the front office. He was hired as Quincy, Washington's city administrator in early 1993, a stint that lasted 16 months before heading to Medical Lake.

   While he's definitely career-minded, he also sees being city manager as a "chance to achieve and do great things."

   "Local government is also the one place you can do something good for the citizens," he added.

   Still, heading up a city large or small probably isn't a job you or I would want, the way Rose describes the position.

   Imagine someone who is playing on the Seahawks, 49ers, Chiefs, Cowboys, Broncos and Chargers all at the same time, is grappling with regulations from state and federal governments that force a city to "jump through the eye of a needle," and has 15 to 20 "irons in the fire."

   "It's like herding ping pong balls in a hallway on a busy day," says Rose. Ping pong balls in Woodinville come with labels like City Hall, traffic, and Grace.

   One of the things Rose will be expected to do is bring city staff back together after former manager Roy Rainey's discordant 14-month term. A number of employees, including most of the Public Works department, left during that period, which ended with his firing.

   Rose termed himself a team-builder and collaborator. He'll be the contact point between the council and city staff, work with the city's boards and commissions, will handle legal matters and stay abreast of regional issues.

   "On a day-to-day basis, it's a whole heckuva lot of stuff to do," said Brocha. "I don't know why people do it," he sighed.

   Councilmembers were also impressed with Rose's references, privately saying that while the number two candidate for the position was thought of as a great guy, Rose was someone who got things done.

   Sandra Steffler, city clerk, said Rose impressed her by taking the time to shake hands with her and the rest of staff at a reception. She said she found him to be personable.

   Before Rose starts, Brocha expects him to have "digested the budget, city ordinances, know the organizational chart, and be up to speed on the issues."

   If he has any spare time between now and next year, Rose will probably be out running. He describes himself as an "avid" runner, striding between 1,200 to 1,300 miles a year since becoming a city manager. He was also lead-off hitter and starting shortstop for Medical Lake's softball team.

   Another of his hobbies is traveling. He and his family are on a trek to see all 50 states and their capitals. So far, they've seen three; he strongly recommends seeing Washington, D.C. Rose is also president of a church council, an officer in the Lions' Club, a member of a state board of city and county managers and two regional boards.

   Rose has been married to his wife, Cynthia, for 17 years. They have a daughter, Hadley, 15, and a son, Keaton, 12.