Mayor-elect Murray announces ‘winning team’ – from deputy mayors to acting SDOT director and more

An acting director for SDOT is one of the appointments just announced by Mayor-elect Ed Murray, in a lineup he declared “a winning team.” He has also announced three permanent department heads, one other acting department head, his executive-leadership team – including two deputy mayors – and their salaries, as well as some restructuring, and creation of a new Office of Policy and Innovation, which will include a “project lead for transportation and transit issues” among others. Here’s the news release in its entirety – (added 2:59 pm) followed by an announcement it did not contain, that of Parks leadership:

Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray today announced key staff roles and hires within the Office of the Mayor, outlined three major ‘staffing innovations’ and named several new City department head appointments.

“My administration, as with any administration, will be judged on how we serve Seattle residents, and my standard will be one of excellence,” said Murray. “To me, excellence means an administration that functions with a high level of inclusiveness, transparency, responsiveness and collaboration – and that brings innovation to solving problems for the people of Seattle.”

At a press conference today, Murray was flanked by his selections for his executive leadership team, his newly-created Office of Policy & Innovation, and his proposed appointments for interim and permanent department head positions.

“For my administration to serve with excellence, my surrounding team must be excellent,” said Murray. “This is an excellent team, an innovative team, a winning team. These are highly capable individuals who are ready to bring their energy, experience and expertise with them on Day One of my administration.”

Murray also emphasized his commitment to a Mayor’s Office and an Administration that reflects the diversity of the Seattle community, both in today’s announcement and in future announcements.

Mayor’s executive leadership team

Murray detailed the make-up of his executive leadership team, which begins with an innovative concept for two Deputy Mayors: “one with a focus on what’s going on in our communities, and one with a focus on what’s going on within city government.”

The external-facing Deputy Mayor will function as Murray’s ‘chief liaison’ and will maintain a “systematic engagement with the many diverse communities and groups throughout Seattle and beyond.” To the position, Murray named Hyeok Kim, Executive Director of InterIm Community Development Association, calling her “an incredibly well-respected voice in our community, and someone known near and far for her integrity.”

The internal-facing Deputy Mayor will function as Murray’s ‘operations lead,’ and will assist in managing “how the city delivers on our commitment to serve the residents of Seattle.” Murray said the role will focus on breaking down silos and promoting cross-department collaboration. To fulfill the position on an interim basis, Murray coaxed out of retirement Andrea Riniker, who previously served as Bellevue City Manager and director for the Port of Tacoma, the Sea-Tac airport and the state Department of Ecology. Riniker “will help assess the status of departments while helping to provide a clearer picture of how this position can best function,” Murray said. “She will also help define the profile of the person who will take this role on permanent basis – and I’m happy to have a former administrator of her stature, with her talent and regional focus to help me craft this critical role.”

As a second staffing innovation, Murray announced that he is bringing the Budget Director back into the Mayor’s Office “to reflect the nature of the budget and the importance of the Budget Director role.” He named Ben Noble, current Director of Seattle City Council Central Services, to the role, describing Noble as someone “widely respected for his competence and professionalism.” Murray also said he will bring the Communications Director into his executive leadership team “to help ensure that our communications and policy strategies are aligned,” and named Jeff Reading, formerly his Deputy Chief of Staff with the Democratic Caucus in the state Senate, to the role. And, in what he described as ‘a real coup,’ Murray announced that Robert Feldstein, current Chief of Staff in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, will be the Director for the newly-created Office of Policy & Innovation.

Office of Policy & Innovation

As a third major staffing innovation, Murray laid out his plans to create the Office of Policy & Innovation within the Mayor’s Office, calling it a ‘new model’ that will function as an “in-house consultancy to the Mayor.” Murray said that his approach to policy aims to break down the silos that tend to form around issue areas, and will instead “place a premium” on analytic and strategic skills, on the ability to identify and scope out a problem, on talent in facilitating and assessing and communicating solutions, on excellence in project management, and an ability to deliver clear and measureable results.

Staff under this model will be interchangeable among policy areas, Murray said, and announced several early hires for the Office. Mike Fong, currently an analyst with the Seattle City Council Central Staff, will be Deputy Director of the Office. Former City Council member and current Community Police Commission member Tina Podlodowski will be the project lead on police reform issues. Jared Smith, head of Northwest Operations for the planning, engineering and construction management firm Parsons Brickerfhoff, will be the director for the Waterfront and Seawall project. Steve Lee, former project management consultant to the White House, will be project lead for organizational effectiveness. And Andrew Glass Hastings, current Government Relations Officer for the King County Department of Transportation, will be project lead on transportation and transit issues.

“I’m very excited about this approach to policy,” said Murray. “It puts the emphasis on an ability to drive progress – which is a dynamic thing – rather than domain knowledge, which is a static thing. Our emphasis needs to be – and will be – on the clear, compelling and measurable progress we are able to deliver.”

Permanent department heads

Murray announced three new City department head appointments, subject to confirmation by the City Council. For the Office of Civil Rights, Murray has selected Patricia Lally, a civil-rights leader in the community who has served an Assistant U.S. Attorney and as a member of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission. For the Office of Housing, Murray has selected Steve Walker, former division director for the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and advisor for the City of Seattle’s Department of Housing and Human Services, the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition in the San Francisco Bay Area, and New York City’s Department of Housing, Preservation and Development. And for the Office of Personnel, Murray has selected Susan Coskey, a former US House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee and private practice labor and employment lawyer, human resources executive, and organizational and human resources consultant in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Interim department heads

Murray also appointed two interim heads to City departments for which he has said he will conduct a national search to identify his permanent hires. To the Seattle Department of Transportation, Murray has named Goran Sparrman, current deputy director at SDOT and the former director of transportation at the City of Bellevue and at Portland’s Bureau of Traffic Management, as Interim Director. To the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Murray has named Aaliyah Gupta, founding Executive Director of Chaya, a community based nonprofit working on domestic violence issues in the South Asian community, as Interim Director.

“My vision is of a city that gets results in addressing our common challenges in public safety, in transportation, in making sure that ours is a growing city at the same time that it’s a fair and affordable city,” said Murray. “I have confidence in the ability of the individuals announced today to help me carry out this vision successfully.”

Murray also directed people to his transition website, where application from people interested in joining the administration are still being accepted. The website can be found at

A complete list of positions announced today and attendant salaries can be found below. Biographies are listed in attachment.


Mayor’s executive leadership team:

· Hyeok Kim – Deputy Mayor, external ($170,000)

· Andrea Riniker – Interim Deputy Mayor, internal ($170,000)

· Ben Noble – Budget Director ($170,000)

· Robert Feldstein – Director of the Office Policy & Innovation ($170,000)

· Jeff Reading – Communications Director ($140,000)

Office of Policy & Innovation leads:

· Mike Fong – Deputy Director ($130,000)

· Andrew Glass Hastings – Transit and transportation ($118,000)

· Steve Lee – Organizational effectiveness ($118,000)

· Tina Podlodowski – Police chief search and police reform ($118,000)

· Jared Smith – Waterfront and Seawall ($160,000)

Permanent department heads:

· Susan Coskey – Personnel ($175,000)

· Patricia Lally – Office of Civil Rights ($151,000)

· Steve Walker – Housing ($145,000)

Interim department heads:

· Aaliyah Gupta – Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs ($116,000)

· Goran Sparrman – Seattle Department of Transportation ($176,000)

(added) Biographies for some of the appointees announced today can be seen here.

ADDED 2:59 PM: Reading other stories about the announcement, to look beyond the news release since we weren’t able to cover this in person, we noted Publicola‘s mention that Christopher Williams would stay on as Parks superintendent. We have confirmed that with Murray spokesperson Jeff Reading, who says that while Williams’ title has been “acting superintendent” for years, he will now be “permanent” superintendent.

17 Replies to "Mayor-elect Murray announces 'winning team' - from deputy mayors to acting SDOT director and more"

  • Diane December 11, 2013 (12:54 pm)

    wow wow wow wow wow; “excellence”, “excellent”; looks very promising

  • Diane December 11, 2013 (12:57 pm)

    and a whole new bunch of leaders to meet; only names I know are Ben Noble and Tina Podlodowski; congrats to both

  • Jane December 11, 2013 (1:55 pm)

    And in a few years, ridiculous seattle voters will be vilifying the new guy and insisting he’s the cause of all their problems. Just like the last one. And the one before. And the one before that.

  • transplantella December 11, 2013 (3:08 pm)

    ” Murray was flanked by his selections for his executive leadership team, his newly-created Office of Policy & Innovation….Murray detailed the make-up of his executive leadership team, which begins with an innovative concept for two Deputy Mayors….”

    · Andrea Riniker – Interim Deputy Mayor, internal ($170,000)
    · Hyeok Kim – Deputy Mayor, external ($170,000)

    Robert Feldstein – Director of the Office Policy & Innovation ($170,000)


    A new and improved half a million dollars a year in salary for these newly annointed Executive Leadership members.

    Bwahahaaa Seattle, it’s payback time for campaign contribution leadership.

    You got what you voted for, now ante up another half mil in taxes for executive salaries while Seattle bus service gets trashed.

  • Gatewooder December 11, 2013 (4:17 pm)

    “Office of Policy & Innovation” sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit.

    • WSB December 11, 2013 (4:20 pm)

      I am certain this came up during the campaign – one of the candidates saying they would have an “office of innovation” if elected – and haven’t yet found the reference.

  • Del Martini December 11, 2013 (4:22 pm)

    @ Gatewooder – Funnneee! And so true:)

  • West Seattle Hipster December 11, 2013 (6:15 pm)

    I am just relieved and elated that the McGinn nightmare is over.

    Best of luck Mr. Murray on reviving our city.

  • dw December 11, 2013 (6:23 pm)

    I don’t mean this to sound snarky. Why does a metro area need a Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs? Isn’t that more of a federal issue?

  • JS December 11, 2013 (7:51 pm)

    $2,227,000 for 15 “civil servants” who just want to “help us”. Almost $150,000 a year per person. Wow! Average income of the “bottom 90%” of Americans is $36,000. Politicians leach off their constituents. They laugh all the way to the bank. Do they work any harder than those working an 8 hour shift at a factory? Do they work harder than a construction worker making $50,000 a year? I’m sure most of these people now soon to get $150k a year supported the Occupy Wall Street thing too….

  • Raquel December 11, 2013 (8:16 pm)

    the replacement of Julie Nelson as director of the Seattle Office of Civil Rights is a horrible decision. note im not commenting on the replacement person whatsoever. i am stating that replacing Julie Nelson at all is a foolish move and i am very disappointed.

  • CeeBee December 11, 2013 (8:48 pm)

    Two Deputy Mayors is a “innovative concept”? Someone on Murray’s transitition team or PR team has a short memory. McGinn had two Deputy Mayors, Daryl Smith was the “outward” DM of Community and Phil Fuji was the “internal” DM of Operations. That lasted 3 months until Fuji quit. Tone down the trumpets!

  • John December 11, 2013 (9:42 pm)

    These are excellent and well-qualified choices. I am looking forward to positive changes Mayor Murray will bring to the City of Seattle.

  • Mike December 11, 2013 (10:14 pm)

    JS, honestly, it may seem like a lot of money, but considering the damage these people can cause (see current outgoing group) I’d pay double that if they can correct half the financial disaster mismanaging money at the city level done lately.
    Occupy Wall Street was useless. To think that hedge fund managers actually gave a hoot about people picketing and being arrested is laughable. You’re talking about people who are uber millionaire/billionaires who literally have gone to prison for stealing from other millionaires and then when they get out they do it again. Some have even been pardoned by presidents. They hold so much power that they’d let you die of starvation before they’d buy you a burger for $1 at Wendy’s.

  • East Coast Cynic December 12, 2013 (6:57 am)


    Lets wait a year to see how these so-called excellent and well qualified people do, then we’ll have a better idea of whether these individuals are worth their salt.

  • Kgdlg December 12, 2013 (8:04 am)

    This is a very good list. Almost half women and half people of color. And from what I have heard, all very competent. I have worked with Steve Walker and he is a really solid selection.

    In terms of salaries, these are folks who have run major corporations or organizations, public or private. That means Seattle has to pay competitive salaries for this level of quality. I trust that these folks won’t be running around the mayor’s office in jeans and hoodies. If this alone occurs, I will be pleased.

  • Lina Rose December 12, 2013 (9:27 am)

    I too am disappointed that Julie Nelson is being replaced. She is an excellent leader and the Race and Social Justice Initiative has made gains under her leadership.

Sorry, comment time is over.