The Issues

June 3rd, 2013

Washington State Law requires the City Manager to:

  • Faithfully execute all laws and ordinances. These laws were put in place by the Council to make Burien a safe and desirable place to live.
  • Keep the City Council informed on financial condition of the City. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are unaccounted for. Projects such as annexation, wards, business development projects that never materialize, etc., are not being shown on these reports.
  • Provide information that the City Council requests. There has been much written on this that indicates many requests are being ignored by the City Manager.

I believe it is time to look for a new City Manager. I propose that we pay $2000 a month more to get the caliber of a Mercer Island City Manager. A person like this is not going to come just for the money. They are going to want to see that the City Council has its act together before accepting the job. This person is going to be taking on a large backlog of problems and will need a Council that is willing to join them in turning this City around.

I have attached a more detailed outline to the City Clerk's copy for the the Council to revue. This outline will deal with issues ranging from pollution of Lake Burien, slide dangers in Seahearst, graffiti, bank repos, and slumlord dwellings and every other issue that degrades our City.

Our current City Manager's refusal to direct his department heads to follow the law needs to be stopped. If the Council is unwilling to deal with this issue, than we need to replace the City Council.




Proposed Changes

A significant number of issues confront Burien. Most of them are directly related to the City Manager's performance. Resolution will require the full good faith effort of Burien's legal, finance, planning and public works departments in conjunction with the City Council.

Legal / Code Compliance:

  • Written code compliance objectives need to be established.
  • Establish a written reasonable response time to code violations.
  • Track all time on these violations so that money can be recovered.
  • Establish a system to keep track of all compliance issues.
  • Review Washington State statues to determine internal City non-compliance issues.
  • Employ on an hourly basis specialty attorneys for unique problems.
  • Coordinate with Public Works to establish a proactive approach to implementing the BMC.


  • Maintain maps and documentation such that they do not contradict each other.
  • Recognize that surface water issues are only part of the situation causing slides. The constant filling and discharge from the Highline Aquifer will encourage slumping and catastrophic slides too.
  • Coordinate with Legal on all surface water issues, ie pollution, slides, etc.


  • Quarterly Report of Financial Status should indicate both the budget and expenditures on all Council directed projects, ie annexation, wards, business development plans, etc.

Public Works:

  • Coordinate with Code Compliance to provide necessary training to all employees on basic code violations, as well as the means to report these issues such as a camera phone.
  • Empower employees with the ability to address graffiti immediately.
  • Brush / hedge trimming along the public right of way by the City should be such that by the time the next scheduled trimming, the vegetation has not yet encroached upon or blocked sidewalks, roads, or intersections.
  • Provide all City cars with gloves, plastic bags and other implements necessary to address small compliance issues on the public right of way.

City Council:

  • Direct the City Clerk to keep a running tally for information from the City Manager by individuals on the Council. This should include the date of the request, the completion date, as well a a brief description of the material sought. This is to be placed in every Council Packet.


RCW 35A.13.080

City manager — Powers and duties.

The powers and duties of the city manager shall be:

  1. To have general supervision over the administrative affairs of the code city;

  2. To appoint and remove at any time all department heads, officers, and employees of the code city, except members of the council, and subject to the provisions of any applicable law, rule, or regulation relating to civil service: PROVIDED, That the council may provide for the appointment by the mayor, subject to confirmation by the council, of a city planning commission, and other advisory citizens' committees, commissions, and boards advisory to the city council: PROVIDED FURTHER, That if the municipal judge of the code city is appointed, such appointment shall be made by the city manager subject to confirmation by the council, for a four year term. The council may cause an audit to be made of any department or office of the code city government and may select the persons to make it, without the advice or consent of the city manager;

  3. To attend all meetings of the council at which his or her attendance may be required by that body;

  4. To see that all laws and ordinances are faithfully executed, subject to the authority which the council may grant the mayor to maintain law and order in times of emergency;

  5. To recommend for adoption by the council such measures as he or she may deem necessary or expedient;

  6. To prepare and submit to the council such reports as may be required by that body or as he or she may deem it advisable to submit;

  7. To keep the council fully advised of the financial condition of the code city and its future needs;

  8. To prepare and submit to the council a proposed budget for the fiscal year, as required by chapter 35A.33 RCW, and to be responsible for its administration upon adoption;

  9. To perform such other duties as the council may determine by ordinance or resolution.

[2009 c 549 § 3025; 1987 c 3 § 17; 1967 ex.s. c 119 § 35A.13.080.]


 Severability -- 1987 c 3: See note following RCW 3.70.010.