News

New finance director sought

By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

For the third time since he took office, Enumclaw Mayor John Wise will be looking for someone to keep watch over the city's dollars and cents.

The need to hire a new finance director follows the recent departure of Gary Smalling, who joined the city's leadership team in September 2004.

Citing a policy that prohibits the release of too many details, Wise implied that the separation wasn't entirely Smalling's idea.

“We don't talk about personnel issues,” Wise said. But he allowed that he is “committed to excellence” and that “it's never easy to have directors come and go.”

It's sad, he added, to discover that “you didn't get the right person for the job.”

Smalling came to Enumclaw from Bellingham, Wash., where he was the city's accounting manager, serving under an elected finance director.

Previously, Mark Turley held the top job in Enumclaw's finance office, holding the post in either an interim or full-time role from May 2002 until February 2004.

Turley's departure was called a resignation, but City Administrator Mark Bauer said at the time there were some “management-related issues” within the department.

Turley had been the city's accountant under Mike Bailey, who held the top job for three years, having come to Enumclaw from Des Moines, Wash.

When Bailey abruptly departed in May 2002, it was called a “resignation” in City Hall circles. Bailey, however, made it clear his resignation was requested.

Wise - who was elected mayor in November 2001 - said the city's Finance Department will be managed on an interim basis by Stephanie McKenzie; she has been filling the department's No. 2 role.

Wise said an advertisement for a full-time director will be placed with the Association of Washington Cities for a couple of weeks and McKenzie's qualifications also will be reviewed. If the city hasn't settled on a satisfactory candidate in about a month, Wise said, an outside agency will be retained to conduct a search.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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