It has been 17 years and 322 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Tomorrow, November 20, 2015 the city will issue a press release reporting that Kevin Phelps has accepted employment with the City of Glendale as its new city manager. Currently he has been Deputy Pierce County Executive. Prior to that from April, 1991 to August, 2007 he was Managing Partner of the Landmark Convention Center, the largest privately held convention center and catering operation in Washington State. He was also a city councilmember with the City of Tacoma from 1998-2005. He graduated from Washington State University in 1976 and the Western Governors University in 2013.

The Glendale Star of November 5, 2015 quoted Phelps saying, Phelps believes his best attribute is to serve the council, staff and community.

‘First, I possess significant experience and acumen in the area of financial management. I am experienced in process and systems improvement using tools like Six Sigma Lean, Kaizen and balanced scorecard,’ Phelps said. ‘Second, I have a successful track record of building and developing outstanding leadership teams at all levels within the organization. Thirdly, my leadership style is built on trust and transparency. You cannot govern efficiently without trust. Finally, my resume is uniquely balanced between the public and private sectors.’

He also points out that he has had great success in running businesses, meeting payrolls and dealing with employees and the public.

‘My resume includes a successful career for over 30 years, owning and operating a number of successful businesses in the Seattle – Tacoma area. I know the pressures of meeting a payroll, paying taxes and working with financial institutions. I also have over 18-plus years in the public sector, including serving two terms on the Tacoma City Council, where I learned the importance of developing effective public policy to achieve the goals of the community,’ Phelps said. ‘I worked at the state level with the Washington State Auditor’s Office, where, as Deputy State Auditor, I focused on using performance audits to improve the performance of government agencies. Finally, for the past seven years I have helped lead the second largest county in Washington State. Pierce County has over 820,000 citizens, has 3,000 employees and a $930 million annual budget.’

Phelps also adds that the Coyotes are integral to the city and he would work on improving the relationship between the two.

‘In concert with the council, I would work to establish a relationship that is beneficial to both the city and to the Coyotes. Recently, I was involved at the highest level with the planning and execution of the 2015 USGA U.S. Open Golf Championship, which was held at a golf course (Chambers Bay) that we own,’ Phelps said. ‘I inherited a contract for the event that was crafted before my arrival, which frankly, had some issues that were problematic for both the county and the USGA. I worked closely with the senior leadership team at the USGA to address these issues. In the end, we were able to achieve an appropriate balance within the agreements that met both the needs of the USGA and Pierce County. The Championship was incredibly successful, creating more than $200 million (projected) in economic impact for our region – and the county made money on the event.  Just recently, we have started the process to secure future dates for the U.S. Open.’

‘The relationship with the Coyotes is very important to the city. I am confident I can help establish a positive relationship with the Coyotes that will endure for years to come’.”

Perhaps the greatest vote of confidence is that of Interim City Manager Dick Bowers who reportedly related that he felt very comfortable in leaving the reins of Glendale’s management to Phelps.

Let’s all welcome Mr. Phelps and congratulate him on his new position. May it be a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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