Triplett selected to be Kirkland City Manager, contract still to be negotiated
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
June 3, 2010 · Updated 12:07 PM
The Kirkland City Council announced that it has selected former Interim King County Executive Kurt Triplett to be the next Kirkland City Manager during its regular meeting on Tuesday.
"We are very excited about what he will bring to the position. He has a passion for local government that is inspiring," said Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride. "Our process was very thorough. We had input from citizens, city staff, city directors and had a Web site set up for citizens to give their comments."
Contract negotiations with Triplett and his representatives have begun and will determine his salary. City staff declined to comment on the city manager salary and contract negotiations until they have concluded. Triplett did not return phone calls from the Reporter.
The council interviewed two finalists, Triplett and Yakima City Manager Dave Zabell, on May 25.
"(Zabell) was very qualified for the job," said Kirkland Councilmember Bob Sternoff. "We liked his energy, but the goals of the council were just better with Mr. Triplett."
Sternoff has worked with Triplett on issues such as annexation and a new jail in King County. The council member said that he has been impressed by Triplett's ability to work on multiple difficult projects, including the Howard Hanson Dam, budget issues and staffing.
"He has a lot of experience working in high pressure situations," said Sternoff. "I was impressed with how he handled the transition when Ron Simms left."
Triplett served as King County’s Interim County Executive (2009), Chief of Staff to County Executive Ron Sims (2003-2009), Deputy Director of King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks (1998-2002), and Deputy Chief of Staff under Ron Sims and Gary Locke.
"He was the most qualified person in terms of experience and what he will help the city accomplish," said Sternoff.
The biggest issues that the City of Kirkland has to deal with in the comming years is annexation. The council felt that Triplett's connections and knowledge of King County's side of the issue is invaluable.
"That is an incredible resource," said Councilmember Jessica Greenway. "It remains to be seen what benefit it will have, but it can't hurt."
Sternoff cited Triplett's knowledge of King County as an asset: "He knows King County, maybe better, than anyone. He may know better places to ask for funding and he knows the players. But most of all I think he will know the keys for successful implementation."
One of the biggest criticisms of Triplett has been his lack of city government experience.
"In my experience you usually hire someone who has been a city manager or assistant city manager," said Greenway. "But he has experience in making controversial and complicated decisions and differences aren't that big between city and county. There would be a transitionary time for anyone and he will be stepping into a well oiled machine."
Triplett has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (2003) and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stanford University (1989).
All the council members expressed admiration for the job that Interim City Manager Marilynne Beard has done since former City Manager Dave Ramsay retired on April 2.Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at email@example.com or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.