Ed Murray Makes His First Big Moves

Fresh from his Big City Mayor 101 class at the Kennedy School, Ed Murray today began to fill the office he’ll assume Jan. 1 with a lot of familiar faces, many of whom have been around the political bend a time or two before.

But the mayor-elect did drop something of a -- let us say, mild bombshell -- when he revealed to a standing-room-only crowd that he has brought aboard a top gun in New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s administration to head his newly-created Office of Policy & Innovation.

Calling it a “real coup,” Murray announced that he’s tapped Robert Feldstein, current chief of staff on outgoing Bloomberg’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, to run the new department, which will “functions as an in-house consultancy to the mayor.”

The OPI office will involve a number of policy areas, Murray said. Mike Fong, currently an analyst with the Seattle City Council Central Staff, will be Deputy Director of the Office. Former City Council member and current Community Police Commission member Tina Podlodowski will be the project lead on police reform issues, and Jared Smith, head of Northwest Operations for the planning, engineering and construction management firm Parsons Brickerfhoff, will be the director for the Waterfront and Seawall project.

Also, Steve Lee, former project management consultant to the White House, will be project lead for organizational effectiveness. And Andrew Glass Hastings, current Government Relations Officer for the King County Department of Transportation, will be project lead on transportation and transit issues.

“I’m very excited about this approach to policy,” said Murray. “It puts the emphasis on an ability to drive progress – which is a dynamic thing – rather than domain knowledge, which is a static thing. Our emphasis needs to be – and will be – on the clear, compelling and measurable progress we are able to deliver.”

Flanked by his new hires at a news conference at the Municipal Tower, Murray said he has also decided to bring on two deputy mayors, one to focus on neighborhood and community interests and concerns, the other to deal with the day-to-day goings on inside City Hall.

Handling external affairs, as you could call it, will be Hyeok Kim, the current Executive Director of InterIm Community Development Association, a non-profit organization devoted to revitalizing the International District. Kim once served as a senior policy analyst for House Speaker Frank Chopp.

Murray said coaxed out of retirement Andrea Riniker, who previously served as Bellevue City Manager and director for the Port of Tacoma, the Sea-Tac airport and the state Department of Ecology, to be his other deputy mayor, charged with running the internal affairs operation within his office.

In other staffing moves, Murray announced that he is bringing the budget director back into the Mayor’s Office “to reflect the nature of the budget and the importance of the budget director role.” He named Ben Noble, current Director of Seattle City Council Central Services, to the role, describing Noble as someone “widely respected for his competence and professionalism.”

Murray also said he will bring the Communications Director into his executive leadership team “to help ensure that our communications and policy strategies are aligned,” and named Jeff Reading, formerly his Deputy Chief of Staff with the Democratic Caucus in the state Senate, to the role.

Finally, Murray named three new city department head appointments, subject to confirmation by the City Council. For the Office of Civil Rights, Murray has selected Patricia Lally, a civil-rights leader in the community who has served an Assistant U.S. Attorney and as a member of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission.

For the Office of Housing, Murray has selected Steve Walker, former division director for the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and adviser for the City of Seattle’s Department of Housing and Human Services, the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition in the San Francisco Bay Area, and New York City’s Department of Housing, Preservation and Development.

And for the Office of Personnel, Murray has selected Susan Coskey, a former US House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee and private practice labor and employment lawyer, human resources executive, and organizational and human resources consultant in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.


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