By Debbie Klosowski, Mayor, City of University Place
City Manager Appointment – Stephen P. Sugg is officially our new University Place City Manager effective January 1, 2011 under action taken by the University Place City Council this week.
Mr. Sugg was selected as Interim City Manager last February after the retirement of former City Manager Bob Jean. At that time, the City Council expressed interest in two potential options for selecting a City Manager in the future:
a) Offer the position to Mr. Sugg depending upon his job performance as Interim City Manager; OR
b) Conduct an open recruitment process for the position.
After several months of evaluation, the City Council decided to hold a public meeting to consider offering Mr. Sugg the position. Several citizens provided public comment, advocating for both courses of action. Although two Councilmembers preferred a recruitment process, the majority of Council (5-2) voted to designate Mr. Sugg as City Manager. Among Council’s reasons for offering the position to Mr. Sugg included his past work performance; ability to develop effective, cohesive teams with City staff, valuable historical perspective; and the importance of maintaining continuity during Town Center negotiations and other governmental partnerships.
The City Manager is an “at will” position which means the City Council has the ability to hire or fire an individual at any time. Mr. Sugg will serve under the same terms of his prior agreement which includes a monthly base salary of $12,365. Based upon Council discussion, additional reviews will be held throughout the year to allow for ongoing information and feedback. For more information on Mr. Sugg, please visit www.CityofUP.com.
In other action, the council:
* Adopted an ordinance officially creating the U.P. Municipal Court. As of January 1, U.P. citizens will be able to conduct court related business within our own municipal court (located within the Lakewood City Hall) under a partnership recently established with the City of Lakewood. The Honorable Judge Ernest Heller, who was sworn in at our meeting, will preside over our community’s cases.
* Appointed youth representatives Morgan Arrington to the Public Safety Commission and Robert Jordan to the Parks and Recreation Commission. We very much appreciate the willingness of these Curtis High School students to step up and provide a needed youth perspective on both of these commissions.
* Approved an anticipated change order to the Civic Building Contract with current contractor Jody Miller Construction for $152,441 to construct concrete sidewalks and pavers surrounding the Civic Building. The project is necessary to complete the building and obtain final occupancy. Since the type of work is currently part of the overall project, it was not necessary to go out for other bids. Since Jody Miller Construction is already on site, it allowed the City to obtain a favorable bid along with the ability to complete the work in the quickest, most efficient method. Although funds were already budgeted for this project, the change order was not bid prior to this time since other project components needed completion before this work could be done.
* Farewell to Dr. Hess – It was with a great deal of sadness that we learned that Dr. George Hess has passed away. Dr. Hess, along with his late wife Adrianna, were instrumental figures in University Place. The couple’s activities included forming SOUP (Save our University Place), park and environmental issues (Adriana Hess Wetland Park) and the U.P. Library activities. Dr. and Mrs. Hess were outstanding examples of how individuals can make a difference in their community. We are grateful to both of them for the legacy they have left us.
* Food Drop Off – Grab a few items at the grocery store and help out your neighbors during the U.P. Food Drop Off on Saturday, December 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop off locations include Fred Meyer (Bridgeport and 67th), Columbia Bank in Fircrest (intersection of Regents and Mildred) and in front of the new Civic Building via a coned off “drive through area” accessible off Bridgeport Way near 37th.
Playground by the Sound – Keep voting! – Don’t forget to vote each day at www.playgroundbythesound.org to help win $25,000 for a future playground at the Chambers Creek Properties.
It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by. It has been a year of challenges, opportunities and change. We’ve survived some bumps along the way and many successes, especially several Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk grants, the upcoming completion of the new Library and Applebee’s Restaurant. Thank you so much to all of our volunteers, citizen commissioners, City staff, service groups, Chamber and others who work tirelessly to help make our community a better place to live, work and play.
On behalf of the City Council, I wish all of you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!