UPDATE: It's Lynden, not Lakewood for Burien City Manager Mike Martin

Martin bailing out of Burien

Burien City Manager Mike Martin is leaving for Lynden, not Lakewood.

Martin had been among six finalists for the city manager job In Lakewood, south of Tacoma in Pierce County.

But Martin confirmed Friday to the Highline Times that he plans to take the city administrator position in Lynden.

He said the position is “not a done deal” but expects it to be finalized by next week.

With a 2010 census population of 11,978, Lynden is considerably smaller than Burien, which has 45,000 residents. It is located five miles south of the Canadian border in Whatcom County and 15 miles north of Bellingham.

Instead of a Wild Strawberry Festival, Lynden holds a Raspberry Festival the third weekend of July and the Northwest Washington Fair in August.

The town lies in a broad valley filled with dairy, raspberry, strawberry and blueberry farms.

Lynden pays homage to its Dutch heritage with some businesses sporting a Dutch/Eurpoean theme, complete with windmills.

Martin faced an uncertain employment future in Burien. Three of seven council members gave him the lowest rating possible in his latest annual evaluation.

Three of the four council members who supported Martin are up for election. Mayor Brian Bennett is not running again but Councilmembers Joan McGilton and Rose Clark are facing stiff election challenges.

Councilmember Jack Block Jr. is also running for re-election. He, along with Deputy Mayor Lucy Krakowiak and Councilmember Bob Edgar have been critical of Martin.

Martin has been criticized by the three lawmakers as well some residents for his work on Burien’s attempt to annex White Center and the remainder of North Highline. Annexation was overwhelmingly defeated by White Center and North Highline voters.

Burien does not have an assistant city manager, who would normally take over for Martin on an interim basis until the City Council selects a successor. Lawmakers may decide to wait until a new council is seated in January before permanently filling the position.

This is a developing story so check back for further details.

Here is our previous coverage:

Burien City Manager Mike Martin is a finalist for the city manager position in Lakewood, Pierce County.

The decision on a new Lakewood administrator is expected June 17 or 18.

Martin is a highly polarizing figure among Burien City Council members and some residents.

In his latest evaluation, three council members gave him an overall rating of “Outstanding. “Councilmember Gerald Robison rated Martin overall as “Very Good.”

However, three other lawmakers gave him the lowest rating possible.

In rebutting the negative ratings, “Martin wrote, “The remarks written by by Deputy Mayor Krakowiak and
Councilmembers Block and Edgar intended to support their ratings are entirely untrue, and easily refutable. As such, those evaluations lack actionable substance.
“It is unclear what they are meant to accomplish other than to underscore the fact that, for their own reasons, Lucy, Jack and Bob simply dislike me personally.”

In subsequent emails all three denied their rankings were based on personal views.

Three of the council members who support Martin are up for re-election.

Mayor Brian Bennett is not running for re-election but council members Joan McGilton and Rose Clark filed again for their seats.

Upon hearing about Martin’s possible move to Lakewood, Councilmember Jack Block Jr. said he is “miffed” that council members did not support his idea to set up a succession plan if Martin resigned or was fired. Block is also up for re-election.

Only four out of seven votes are needed on the council to remove Martin.

Martin’s predecessor, Gary Long retired after it appeared he would not have the support of a newly-elected majority of council members.

Normandy Park City Manager Doug Schultze left Normandy Park in October to take over as city manager on Bainbridge Island. Normandy Park was facing financial difficulties that have been alleviated somewhat by the successful passage of a proposition that allowed property tax rates to be increased,

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