Meet the candidates for the next city manager of Burien – community reception slated for Friday, April 7

By Lindsay Peyton

Five finalists have made it near the finish line – all head-to-head in the race to become the next city manager of Burien.

The City Council hired executive recruiting firm Colin Baenziger and Associates to help them with the search.

The Council announced the following final applicants – Amy Arrington, John Burt, Matthew Fulton, Peter Troedsson and Brian Wilson -- at its March 27 retreat.

The public is invited to meet the candidates at a reception slated for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7 at the Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Ave SW.

Interim city manager Tony Piasecki encourages residents to come out for the event.

“Residents should attend this event because they will get to meet the candidates and provide their thoughts to the Council,” he said.  “There will be comment cards available for residents to fill out. Council will see all comments that are submitted.”

Arrington has served as city manager of Davenport, Fla. since 2007. Prior to that, she spent four years as the assistant to the city manager and two years as the assistant city manager in Haines City, Fla. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Auburn University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Central Florida.

Burt worked as county administrator for Otsego County, Mich. since 2006. He also worked for Berrien County, Mich. for nine years in the planning and GIS mapping department. He has a bachelor’s degree in geography from Central Michigan University and a master’s in geography with a concentration in urban planning.

Fulton was the city manager for West St. Paul, Minn. for three years, city manager for Coon Rapids, Minn. for six years, city manager for New Brighton, Minn. for 13 years, and city administrator for Hartford, Wis. for six years. He has a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from the University of Minnesota and a master’s in public administration from the University of Wisconsin.

Troedsson has worked as the deputy city manager and chief operating officer for Bothell, Wash. since 2014. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Scandinavian languages from the University of California, a master’s in strategic studies from the U.S. Air Force Air War College and a master’s in public administration from George Washington University.

Wilson is currently the commission chair for the Corral Springs Water District in Douglas County, Wash. He previously served as chief of staff for two years in Federal Way, Wash., city manager and police chief for one year, police chief for eight years and deputy police chief for 10 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology from Washington State University and a master’s in public administration from Seattle University. 

Paisecki said the applicant pool represents a broad range of experience.

“In my opinion, the most important quality a good city manager should have is great communication skills,” he said. “A city manager can impact the city in a positive way by working with the City Council to identify their priorities and then working with staff to implement them.”

City staff will meet the finalists at a staff-only reception on Friday, April 7, and the city council and the city’s leadership team will interview the candidates on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8. Representatives from the city’s citizen advisory boards will also be invited to interview the finalists.

“We need a really strong manager,” Burien’s deputy mayor Nancy Tosta said. “Managing means you really enable others. You bring out the best in other people.”

She said the office of city manager is a challenging role. “It’s a tough position,” she said. “You’re always walking a fine line. The council is setting policy, staff is implementing it and you’re in the middle.”

The city plans to announce the new city manager by the middle of the month.  

For more information, visit www.burienwa.gov.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.