Here’s who will help the mayor find a new SDOT director

When Mayor Bruce Harrell recently announced his plan for a police-chief search, we asked about the plan for hiring another high-level city position – SDOT director. The reply was that a similar process would launch shortly, and now it has. A Friday afternoon announcement from the mayor’s office says these 15 people have been named to a search committee:

Genesee Adkins, former SDOT Chief of Staff
Cassie Chinn, Wing Luke Museum
Dr. Anne Goodchild, UW Urban Freight Lab
Amy Grotefendt, Transportation Lead, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Matt Howard, Seattle Department of Transportation
Alex Hudson, Transportation Choices Coalition
Rob Johnson, NHL Seattle Kraken, former Councilmember
Steve Kovac, IBEW Local 77
Lee Lambert, Cascade Bike Club
Geri Poor, Port of Seattle
Rizwan Rizwi, Muslim Housing Services
Monisha Singh, Chinatown International District Business Improvement Assoc.
Yordanos Teferi, SDOT’s Transportation Equity Workgroup
Terry White, King County Metro
Yu-Ann Youn, SDOT’s Transportation Equity Workgroup, UW student

The announcement does not mention neighborhoods of residence; our quick cross-check of public records shows only one name that potentially matches to a West Seattle address. The announcement says the committee members “were selected for their technical expertise and vision, lived experiences with the transportation system, and ability to leverage networks to market the position, collect feedback, and provide information to support the process and selection.” The committee is expected to meet for the first time later this month; applications for the SDOT director position officially open on Tuesday. No details yet of other plans for community input into the search. The mayor’s office has said the current interim director, Kristen Simpson, previously SDOT’s chief of staff, doesn’t intend to seek the permanent job.

11 Replies to "Here's who will help the mayor find a new SDOT director"

  • Mj April 9, 2022 (6:45 pm)

    I did not see any PE’s listed or PTOE’s, Professional Traffic Operational Engineers, on the list.  This is the type of Technical Expertise that is needed on both the search committee and in the future hire?

    • bolo April 9, 2022 (10:14 pm)

      Yes, and I did not see anyone listed representing distracted SOV drivers (fast-growing demographic), or even common SOV drivers, by far the most numerous users of our roads. By far!

      Therefore I predict more road diets, vision zeros, curb bulbs, bike lanes, outdoor seating, bus lanes, speed cushions, speed cameras, neighborhood streets, greenways, etc. ALL impediments to the majority SOV road user! Where is the democracy in this town?


      • 1994 April 9, 2022 (10:58 pm)

        Maybe ‘undo’ all of those predictions that were implemented and traffic would actually flow instead of being backed up, not moving, wasting fuel, buses running late…… Friday on Roxbury eastbound the traffic, single file in 1 lane of course, was backed up from 16th Ave to 24th.   2 lanes would move double the traffic.

  • Mark Schletty April 9, 2022 (6:48 pm)

    I fear this committee will simply select another Zimbabwe. Where are the people who want the SDOT to provide service to all transportation, including the type used by far and away the most people— cars and trucks.  Maybe a few of them might be somewhat interested in that but many are not.  This committee is woefully lacking in representation for the majority of us.  I thought Harrell would do much better than this. 

    • KM April 11, 2022 (5:20 pm)

      YES, won’t someone PLEASE think of the poor drivers?! Absolutely an undeserved demographic who has been fighting for basic rights for years!

  • Tom April 9, 2022 (7:03 pm)

    Hopefully they will find one who can get them to fill potholes approximately level with the surrounding grade. Not leaving steel plates on the road for months might be nice as well.

  • Junction Lady April 9, 2022 (7:59 pm)

    How about a “grass roots, I love Seattle” and want to repair our current issues as well as proactively work on projects that catapult our city into a pleasant place for drivers, pedestrians and bikers.  Forget schedules and seek opportunities to maintain and improve the infrastructure that already exists.  For example I saw a beautiful plan to improve the entrance to WS and it would be an opportunity time to do so with the West Seattle bridge out of commission for TWO YEARS!

    • Kathy April 9, 2022 (9:49 pm)

      But Mayor Durkan decided to spend the money on something else, even though it was shovel ready and specifically funded in the levy we fought for. This decision was made when Zimbabwe was just barely hired so we can’t really blame him for it. I’m not sorry that micromanaging mayor is gone. It was a very short sighted, stupid decision.

  • Millie April 9, 2022 (8:52 pm)

    I’m in agreement with MJ about the need for individuals with expertise (Professional Engineers) and Traffic Engineers.   Road/bridge maintenance will not be improved based  on the skill-set listed above of search committee members.  Another nation-wide search resulting in, possibly, no improvements in SDOT.

  • Jon Wright April 10, 2022 (9:31 am)

    Google did some famous research (lookup “Google Project Oxygen”) to determine the common attributes of their most effective leaders. They found there was no correlation between subject matter expertise and leadership ability. So all this insistence on the next SDOT Director being an engineer is misguided. 

    • AF12 April 10, 2022 (11:05 am)

      I agree with MJ that the new SDOT director must be a Transportation Engineer with P.E.  In addition, looking at the search group above, it seems we are looking for a PR person as a SDOT director. Believe me a professional engineer can also be a leader.  We don’t need Google search to come up with another director to use the city’s resources to install unprotected bike lanes that go nowhere!  The future director needs to look at the overall transportation system and come up with practical solutions and not to just satisfy a particular group with the loudest voice!

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