Council Roundup: February 7, 2022

Black History Month, Strategic Planning, State Legislative Updates, City Manager Search, Comprehensive Planning, Support for Teamsters
Posted on 02/10/2022
"Black History Month" on black background with red, yellow, and green bands of color.

The Burien City Council issued a proclamation in honor of Black History Month and heard updates from the State legislative session and on the City’s strategic planning and Comprehensive Planning efforts. They also moved forward with the process of vetting executive search firms to hire a city manager and approved issuing a letter in support of the Teamsters Local 174 general strike.

Celebrating Black History Month in Burien

The City Council issued a proclamation designating February 2022 as Black History Month in Burien. Hazel Valley Elementary School Assistant Principal Tamasha Emedi accepted the proclamation.

In January 2022, the City of Burien partnered with Highline Public Schools to support the installation of a mural at Hazel Valley Elementary recognizing the Black Lives Matter movement and to increase Black representation in art.

Accepting the proclamation, Emedi stated, “It’s an honor to speak in front of you all today as a Black, queer woman and child of an immigrant. I’ve spent my entire educational career in this geographical space. My goal will never be to speak on behalf of those identities I listed, but instead, to speak authentically from my valid lived experience in this body, in our space.”

“I can’t help but see my community, my family, my students, and myself when I hear the language used in today’s proclamation – my school, Hazel Valley, and school district, called out. I’ve had the honor and privilege to be a critical piece of the work for the art installment on our building. I’ve also supported the adoptions of Instruction on Race and Identity, both in my building and across the district.”

Emedi concluded, “I have such a deep pride in my Black identity. My Burundi identity, the Congolese identity of my siblings and the Nigerian identity of my cousins. I hope I’m living that pride authentically in a way that not only Black students and families witness, but also families of color and families historically marginalized by a system I am a part of.”

Strategic Planning to Align City Government Goals with Community Priorities

The City’s strategic plan sets forth high-level goals to guide budgeting priorities and staff work. Informed by community and adopted by the City Council, the strategic plan spans four years and two budget cycles and serves as a measure of accountability. The previous plan was adopted in 2016, and key elements focus on having a safe, healthy, and dynamic community, as well as a creating a strong City organization.

The City Council had previously approved $70,000 for Strategic Planning efforts in 2022, which includes hiring a consulting facilitator and conducting community outreach. The City Council approved a proposal from Creative Strategy Solutions to facilitate project. Community engagement is set to begin in the second quarter of 2022.

Updates from Ongoing State Legislative Session

Lyset Cadena, Burien’s state legislative lobbyist, updated the City Council on the status of bills of interest to the City. Bills related to the state’s long term care program, affordable housing, police reform, and transportation were discussed.

Progress Made on Executive Search Firm Selection

Following a review of five proposals from executive search firms on January 31, the City Council had directed staff to conduct reference checks on two finalists. Staff presented information gathered from reference checks for both GovHR USA and WBCP, Inc to the City Council, who instructed staff to move forward with scheduling interviews between both firms and the City Council.

Temporary Salary Increase for Interim Deputy PaRCS Director

The City Council approved a salary increase for the interim deputy PaRCS director. Carolyn Hope, the City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services (PaRCS) director, was recently appointed to serve as interim city manager. Additional tasks and responsibilities have been delegated to Casey Stanley, recreation manager and interim deputy director. To compensate her for the additional responsibility and workload, the City Council approved a temporary pay increase of 11 percent. Due to outstanding staff vacancies, the full cost can be absorbed in the existing general fund budget.

Comprehensive Plan Major Update Process to Begin Soon

Staff presented an overview of the upcoming major update to Burien’s Comprehensive Plan, and how it will coordinate with other City planning projects such as the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) update, the Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan update, and the Ambaum and Boulevard Park Community Plans.

The City’s Comprehensive Plan is a 20-year policy blueprint that reflects community vision and priorities for Burien. It is required by the state’s Growth Management Act. It guides decision-making processes and allows the City to take a more proactive, holistic approach to policies that impact neighborhoods, businesses, transportation, and the environment.

Community engagement efforts are set to begin soon, in addition to scoping an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a decision-making tool used to describe the effects of a proposed action on the environment and any possible alternative actions that may be available.

Support for Teamsters Local 174

The City Council agreed to send a letter of support for the Teamsters Local 174 union signed by consenting councilmembers. More than 300 unionized concrete drivers and workers are participating in the strike, claiming unfair labor practices. The strike has been cited as impacting construction projects across the region.

Exploring Options to Address Boulevard Park Flooding

Staff is preparing to reach out and collect feedback from homeowners who may be impacted by drainage and flooding issues in the Boulevard Park neighborhood and is working with a consultant to determine options for addressing those issues. Staff will present the community feedback and project options at a future City Council meeting.