January 11, 1999
Jim Thompson, Bothell's new city manager, speaks with City Councilwoman Sandra Guinn before last week's council meeting.
Staff photo by Andrew Walgamott.
by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
BOTHELL--Like its neighbor to the east, Bothell welcomed a new city manager to town at the beginning of 1999.
Jim Thompson wrapped up his first official day on the job as Bothell's city manager at the first City Council meeting of the year, Jan. 4. In Woodinville, new manager Pete Rose did likewise.
Thompson, who comes from Bullhead City, Arizona, was hired last November. Then, he told the Northlake News that the biggest similarity between Bothell and Bullhead City, where he's managed for 30 months, was growth.
The southwestern city has tripled in size from growth alone in the past 14 years, Thompson noted, adding that Bothell doubled its size earlier this decade with the Canyon Park annexation.
Bothell officials believe they have found a man well-suited for changing times. His hiring was sparked by former manager Rick Kirkwood's resignation last June. Thompson replaces Mike Caldwell, who filled in while a new manager was sought out.
Last week, Mayor Debbie Treen seemed impressed with what she called Thompson's "can-do attitude." One change she's seen already is that now the council gets their mail from City Hall daily, whereas before, they received it once a week.
"I'm very encouraged by what's he's done the first couple of days," said Treen.
Public service is in Thompson's blood. His father was a police officer, his mother a nurse. He agreed with the assessment of a city manager's job that Woodinville's new top administrator gave: that it's a lot like herding ping-pong balls in a hallway on a busy day.
But he said that government work is a chance to have "a positive impact, help the community, and help people. To me, that's appealing."
Thompson previously was Sterling, Colorado's finance director for six years, and then assistant city manager. He has a Master's in Business Administration from Regis University in Denver, a Ph.D. in Psychology from Lasalle University in Louisiana, and a BS in accounting finance from Indiana University. He was also an owner and instructor of a karate studio in Indiana in the late 1970s and early '80s.
In government, Thompson has a record of implementing performance tracking systems, working to attract businesses that meet a city's vision, scoring federal grants, and reaching out to the community through budget guidebooks, task forces, and press briefings.
He summed up his city's trademarks in two words--"open and accountable." Thompson considered his move to Bothell as a lateral move in terms of size and pay, and said career-wise, his goal is to find himself managing a city like Bothell or one much like it. He is married and has two children.
"We're looking forward to new challenges, and new opportunities," Thompson said.