Department of Neighborhoods director Stella Chao leaving

Two days after the city’s Department of Neighborhoods director Stella Chao visited West Seattle to talk with the Southwest District Council, there’s word she’s leaving the job after four years. The mayor’s office just sent the announcement – read it in full after the jump:

After meeting with Mayor Mike McGinn, Stella Chao and the mayor agreed that the director’s name would not be put forward for reconfirmation by the City Council.

In a letter to her staff, Chao said the four-year appointment by previous Mayor Greg Nickels “has flown by quickly, and it has truly been a privilege to serve the community in this post.”

Mayor McGinn issued the following statement:

“I’d like to thank Stella Chao for her able leadership of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Stella was appointed four years ago to direct the Department of Neighborhoods, and in that role she has helped build the city’s strong sense of neighborhood identity and pride, as well as give greater voice to residents of underrepresented communities of color and immigrants.

“Before her time as Neighborhoods Director, Stella was an accomplished community activist. She is also a strong voice for human services and the environment. I wish her well in her next ventures.”

Chao’s last day as director will be Jan. 31.

We’re still writing the story of her Wednesday night appearance, during which she was questioned closely about the decision to move Southwest District coordinator Stan Lock out of West Seattle even though the Neighborhood Service Center where he has worked is remaining open.

Since three other coordinator jobs were cut, she has announced a plan to have the 10 remaining coordinators form three “teams” by region, and Lock will be on the Central team, not the South team, which will work with the Southwest (western West Seattle) district as well as the Delridge (eastern West Seattle) district and the Greater Duwamish district (just east of West Seattle).

Before today’s announcement, she was scheduled to be at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting on January 19th. We’ll be checking to see if that’s still on.

5 Replies to "Department of Neighborhoods director Stella Chao leaving"

  • Jim Del Ciello January 7, 2011 (11:36 am)

    This is unfortunate news!

    Stella Chao has been a great advocate for our communities. She consistently advocated for positive outcomes for all citizens on behalf of the City of Seattle. She will be missed!

    Jim Del Ciello

  • WSW January 7, 2011 (1:05 pm)

    Is Mike McGinn capable of getting along with anybody? That is the question. This city is having a hard time enough without having an incompetent mayor at the helm. This latest casualty is another result of his trying to control instead of working with people.

  • justobserving January 7, 2011 (2:31 pm)

    well, apparently enough folks voted for him to allow him to do whatever he believes is good for Seattle; whether that’s actually good for enough of Seattle’s residents, I suppose we’ll see at the next election.

  • moxilot January 7, 2011 (3:51 pm)

    This may have less to do with whether McGinn is ‘capable of getting along with anybody’ and more to do with the stress of working with a drastically reduced budget, less personnel to provide services, and ultimately not being able to service the neighborhoods in a capacity as the director envisions. I know I certainly wouldn’t want that job.

  • mcbride January 7, 2011 (5:37 pm)

    Can you back that up, WSW? If so, please elaborate – I’ll admit that I don’t know either, but I’m passingly familiar with the situation and moxilot sounds a lot closer to the mark.

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