CITY CHANGES: SDOT director Scott Kubly quits, and other announcements from the mayor

Though he didn’t get that Texas job he was reported to be seeking, SDOT director Scott Kubly has resigned anyway, Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s office announced this afternoon. The announcement includes word of an interim successor, another high-level city official’s departure, and a list of some who are staying on:

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced several officials who will serve in her administration including department leaders focused on housing, homelessness, civil rights, transportation, and economic opportunity.

“From housing to homelessness to transportation, our City faces a number of urgent challenges. Our residents and businesses expect our officials to make progress and deliver results, and this administration will be accountable to the people we serve,” said Mayor Durkan.

Following the resignation of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Durkan named Goran Sparrman as Interim Director, effective January 5, 2018. Sparrman was previously the Interim Director and Deputy Director of SDOT as well as the former Director of Transportation at the City of Bellevue and at Portland’s Bureau of Traffic Management. Durkan will launch a national search process to find a candidate for the permanent position.

“I want to thank Scott for his service to Seattle and wish him well as he pursues new opportunities. In a time of unprecedented growth, Scott set the stage for a significant increase in multi-modal investments in our city, which will have an impact for decades to come. Goran is well-respected leader and has immense experience as an engineer, manager, and planner in our region – I know he will execute over the months to come on my top transportation priorities,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our region has been trying to catch up to its transportation needs for decades, and the next few years will be critical for creating more safe, efficient, and well-connected transportation choices that make it easier and safer for residents to get around on foot, by bike and via mass transit. With a number of significant projects in the pipeline, the next leader must be well positioned to deliver on investments, improve bus service, effectively implement light rail expansion, and prioritize our maintenance backlog.

With the resignation of Patricia Lally, the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, Mayor Durkan announced Mariko Lockhart will serve as the Interim Director of the Office for Civil Rights effective January 3, 2018. Lockhart currently leads the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative – Demonstration Cities for the Aspen Forum on Community Solutions. She previously served as the Director of the City of Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

“Patricia has fought for civil rights for decades and know she will continue her work to advance social justice,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our City can and must do better to address institutional and structural racism in our government. I have worked with Mariko and know she is committed to addressing true equity across education, affordability, and the criminal justice system.”

Additionally, Mayor Durkan announced several officials focused on housing, homelessness, and economic opportunity who will continue to serve in their roles including:

Dwane Chappelle, Director of the Department of Education and Early Learning
Fred Podesta, Director of Finance and Administrative Services
Catherine Lester, Director of the Seattle Human Services Department
Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Office of Economic Development
Steve Walker, Director of the Office of Housing
Cuc Vu, Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

“My administration is committed to tackling the affordability crisis from all angles. As we create more affordable housing, implement the Seattle Promise College Tuition program, and move more people off the streets and into permanent housing, these leaders are committed to working together to find innovative long-term solutions,” concluded Mayor Durkan.

Last week, Mayor Durkan announced a number of public safety and utility officials who would serve in her administration.

Kubly was appointed by then-Mayor Ed Murray three and a half years ago.

37 Replies to "CITY CHANGES: SDOT director Scott Kubly quits, and other announcements from the mayor"

  • rob December 15, 2017 (2:19 pm)

     thats to easy he should have been fired

  • coffeedude December 15, 2017 (2:20 pm)

    YEA!  He should have never had that job in the first place!

  • ProudPapa December 15, 2017 (2:46 pm)

    So glad to see Kubly is “resigning”.
    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • TJ December 15, 2017 (3:05 pm)

    Good riddance. Please hire a true engineer and not another social engineer that touts “movement for all forms of transportation” as a guise to slow cars even more. Yes, we can’ t add more roads, but there are things that can be done to ease congestion a bit that have been totally ignored. Never mind cars having lost 300 lane miles to bus and bike lanes. Time to turn a new page

  • Peter December 15, 2017 (3:44 pm)

    That’s too bad. Kubly did a good job. Hopefully they can find a replacement who can continue to effectively implement multi-modal transportation solutions that we need, pursue vision zero, and push for adequate transportation funding as Kubly did. Our system of bike lanes is still woefully inadequate, and the buses are still stuck in traffic due to incomplete bus lanes, so there is still a lot of work to do.

    • T December 15, 2017 (4:20 pm)

      Are you kidding?! Look at his ethics violations. He or his staff can’t even return an email to me when I let him know about multiple serious issues over the years. Also tried having CM Herbold forward my issues to him. I don’t have enough time or space to go into examples of his ineptitude. 

    • NSAlki December 15, 2017 (6:35 pm)

      I can’t tell if your comment is real or sarcasm so forgive me. 

      Except in summer, very very few people ride bikes to work compared to driving. The bus option is a good idea but doesn’t work in practice due to so few routes and times. I take the bus and it is a daily hassle.


      It would be nice to have a transportation head who realizes that most people still use cars, instead of an ethically challenged one pushing an activist agenda. 

      • Kathy December 16, 2017 (4:07 pm)

        The point is to move people not cars. So putting emphasis on safer bike routes and speedier bus service is definitely the right direction to go.  This helps to free up space for buses and private cars on the road for people who have to drive. People don’t just bike commute in the summer.  In the recent Ride in the Rain November 2017 challenge 48,692 car-free bike trips were made in Washington State during the month. Most of these trips were made in King County. A team of West Seattle cyclists, the Peninsula Puddle Pedalers, placed 7th out of 434 teams statewide for bike commuting during November, the rainiest month of the year. Want to know why so many more people are in their cars instead of on bikes? Because there are still many places in Seattle where people perceive the routes are unsafe due to lack of adequate protection from motorized traffic.  With SDOT’s continued help we can eventually get fixes for these dangerous spots so that more people can be comfortable getting around by bike and not be stuck in traffic in a car or on a  crowded bus.

        • Mark Schletty December 16, 2017 (4:46 pm)

          Kathy— “Want to know why so many more people are in their cars instead of on bikes?” Because biking is not now, nor will it ever be, a viable method of transportation for the vast majority of us. So if the point is to move people, emphasis on efficient rapid movement of cars is the right direction to go. Safe bike routes and much better mass transit are important, but they need to be implimented in addition to car transit, not instead of it as Kubly has done.

        • Rusty December 16, 2017 (6:45 pm)

          Bikers make up < 10% of commuters, but the corrupt Kubly SDOT dedicated a lion’s share of OUR money to his PRONTO as well as bike lanes, reducing capacity for the VAST majority of commuters. That is terrible resource management, no matter who or how you look at it. Supporting public officials shown to be corrupt just because you agree with their policies is a sad statement on society – the ends NEVER justify the means if you have to sacrifice your integrity and morality to get there. Public service should actually be about service – not about enriching yourself however you can.

          • Mickymse December 18, 2017 (11:04 am)

            Bikers usually own cars also… So they are asking for a share of THEIR tax monies to go to improving their commutes and making them safer from drivers who don’t seem to pay very good attention to riders cycling around them. And you should be thankful that these commuters are not adding more cars in front of yours during your commute. They’re not “stealing” your money or making your drive worse.

          • Rusty December 18, 2017 (11:30 am)

            Ignoring or not addressing the facts – that < 10% of commutes happen by bike, makes it okay to have a larger focus on bike lanes than moving cars? That’s an absolutely ridiculous supposition. When the vast majority of commutes still happen by car, yet SDOT made it harder to get around by car, that’s not representational government – it’s social engineering. Lining your own pockets (by the bailout of Kubly’s PRONTO) only makes it that much worse and corrupt. If you want more bike lanes, fine – but, as with anything else, if only a small percentage of commutes happen by bike, then bike lanes shouldn’t be ‘priority 1’ – especially if it involves reduced capacity for the majority of commuters.

      • Peter December 16, 2017 (4:13 pm)

        My comment was serious. I agree with you buses need improvement, such as connected, full time bus lanes. The need for multi-modal transit is not an activist agenda, it is reality. And yes, that means drivers are going to have to lose their favored, privileged place in our transportation system. 

  • Bus December 15, 2017 (4:06 pm)

    Wow, that’s a bummer.

    Hopefully his successor understands as he did that they run the Department of Transportation, not just the Department of Cars.  There’s a lot more work to do to make walking safer and support public transit options.

    • Mike December 15, 2017 (9:27 pm)

      Hopefully the replacement isn’t as shady and doesn’t waste millions in giving friends and themselves handouts of tax payer dollars.  We need viable solutions to our congestion, not feel good preschooler concepts.  Cars have been an afterthought for nearly 8 years now and taxed to death with negative results.  It’s time for legitimate leadership.  Kubly can shove it.

  • T December 15, 2017 (4:16 pm)

    Good riddance!

  • Mark Schletty December 15, 2017 (4:22 pm)

    Best news of the year. Right up there with Moore losing in Alabama.

  • TJ December 15, 2017 (4:24 pm)

    $54 billion for ST3. Gas tax increases. I think we have dedicated a lot to transportation funding. Bike ridership is down. If the city ever decides to ask for more money for bike lanes, let’s have that on it’s own levy and not tied in with fixing potholes or any supposed sov related improvements and see if it passes on it’s own. Kubly threw in the towel on anything to help move cars, instead trying to get people out of cars to help support public transportation. Sov numbers are going to increase no matter what they do. Time to work to support that

    • Mike December 15, 2017 (9:35 pm)

      I ride my bike to and from work almost every day of the week and totally agree with you.  I ride because I can.  I’ve worked other jobs where that’s not a viable option, nor was a bus ride.  Oddly enough, I get to work faster riding my bike than taking the ‘Rapid Ride’ bus…aka, ‘Slow Ride’ or ‘Too Full, Take the Next One or Third One’.

    • bolo December 16, 2017 (5:15 pm)

      “Bike ridership is down.” Are You Sure? Maybe you are comparing winter currently to last summer? (Seasonal “cycles”) If so, that’s not a fair comparison now is it?

  • Rick December 15, 2017 (4:35 pm)

    I’m liking the new mayor more by the minute.

  • MJ December 15, 2017 (4:42 pm)

    Kubley should have been shown the door years ago!

    Mayor Durkin should get a new director that is a PE and PTOE (Professional Traffic Operations Engineer) that has a balanced approach to the transportation challenges faced in this region.

  • West Seattle Hipster December 15, 2017 (5:10 pm)

    Excellent news!    Hopefully his replacement will not be ethically challenged.

  • Jon December 15, 2017 (6:12 pm)

    Friends, I’d like to formally announce my application for the position.

    While it is true that I have no experience in traffic engineering, I do love outdoors activities, fair-trade coffee, Liberal Politics, TED Talks, and GMO-free living.

    Also, I’m a major shareholding and partner in a failing bike-share program, so — if we could speed this whole process up so that I can use taxpayer money to get a fat payday, that would be great. And you’re just gonna love your new city-owned Bike Utility Company!

    Thanks, Seattle! #Resist

  • Koni and Russell December 15, 2017 (7:10 pm)

    Halelujah! :)

  • 1994 December 15, 2017 (8:06 pm)

    He may not be leaving Seattle. He did not get the transportation director job in Austin, Texas that he applied for. Was not even a finalist candidate. Just announced this week in The Seattle Times.

    • WSB December 15, 2017 (8:10 pm)

      That was what I was referring to in the first few words. On Twitter tonight, he commented, “Big day and excited for what’s next,” without elaboration so far.

    • Mike December 15, 2017 (9:39 pm)

      He should move to Bellevue.

  • D Del Rio December 15, 2017 (8:39 pm)

    Maybe the new mayor is not so bad after all!! 

  • Seattlite December 15, 2017 (9:28 pm)

     Kubly was one of the biggest swindlers to hit Seattle.

  • Jeannie December 16, 2017 (1:16 am)

    Whee! He couldn’t even get the job in Texas. To use the overused phrase, “Bye, Felicia.” And the classic phrase “Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.” Maybe he’ll bicycle his way into the sunset. .
    Why do I suspect he didn’t resign, but was “asked to resign”? aka “fired”?

  • anonyme December 16, 2017 (9:28 am)

    It is entirely possible to embrace ” outdoors activities, fair-trade coffee, Liberal Politics, TED Talks, and GMO-free living” while simultaneously rejecting incompetence.  That is the real issue here.  Bike sharing needs to go away NOW.  It’s done nothing but clutter sidewalks and right-of-ways, creating dangerous obstacles for pedestrians and vehicles.  And can we please not route crowded commuter buses across railroad tracks with frequent half hour delays?

  • Question Authority December 16, 2017 (11:34 am)

    Just typical of a new Mayor, come in and gut whomever you wish and create more uncertainty among the employees like myself.  It’s obvious many canned needed to go but now another 1-2+ years is going to be spent waiting as those newcomers come up to speed.  The usual statement is ” I’m not going to make any decisions until I have a better understanding  of the dynamics” which just delays progress and this happens every four years over and over.  BTW, I have worked for three branches of the City and SDOT was by far the most dysfunctional so no loss, but it is a problem from the bottom up as well.

  • dsa December 16, 2017 (11:49 am)

    To be cynical, I think she canned him to be popular.  Next she will appoint a Kubly clone.

  • Citizen Sane December 16, 2017 (3:10 pm)

    He shouldn’t have been allowed the dignity of ‘resigning’; he should’ve been sacked. Keep in mind his role in saddling Seattle with the disastrous Pronto! bikeshare system. He was formally associated with the company, facilitated its takeover by Seattle taxpayers after it was proven to be hemorrhaging money, and we ultimately dismantled the whole affair. Wikipedia says we’re offering it to any city that will take it, but as far as I know there are no takers. Soon after LimeBike, Spin, and Ofo have set up shop with much more flexible systems, and at no cost to the taxpayer.

    Kubly was just one example of the terrible level of cronyism in Mayor Murray’s city hall. Mayor Durkan has her work cut out for her winkling out the rest of the cronyism, particularly between city hall and the worst players in the local ‘Homeless-Industrial Complex’ (and I’m talking to YOU, SHARE and LIHI).

  • AL December 18, 2017 (12:48 pm)

    Totally agree with Citizen Sane!  What a total crook that guy is.  He should of totally been sacked.  He got off way too easy.  If Ms. Durkan is cleaning house- she ought to get rid of those inadequate and immoral city council people- who are ruining or have ruined this once beautiful city.

    • WSB December 18, 2017 (1:17 pm)

      The City Council and Mayor are separate branches of government, and the mayor has no power to “get rid” of councilmembers, who are elected by voters. In each area of the city, people now get to vote for three councilmembers – their district-elected representative (West Seattle and South Park comprise District 1, and Councilmember Lisa Herbold is midway through her 4-year term) and at-large (citywide) councilmembers for Position 8 (Teresa Mosqueda, who was just elected to a 4-year term) and Position 9 (Lorena González, who was just re-elected to a 4-year term). – TR

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