Dawn Sturwold Retiring End of Month

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Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am  //  John Servais

Dawn Sturwold, the hearing examiner for the City of Bellingham, is retiring at the end of this month.  She has been Bellingham’s first and only hearing examiner since the office was created in May, 2000.  She started work in the city attorney’s office in 1984. 

Update 4:55 pm:  The city has informed me their previous information was in error.  A contract hearing examiner will start July 1 and serve until a permanent Examiner is hired.  The significance of this is there will probably be no rush for a June 23 confirmation by the council, and the process may be more open with more time to make a decision.  This is good.

Job applications for her replacement were posted in April and closed in May.  Final interviews of candidates will be this Thursday, June 12.  This position is one of only two important city positions that requires council approval of the mayor’s appointment.  The other is the city attorney position.  According to city hall sources, the new appointee is expected to start work on July 1, which means the council will have to approve the mayor’s choice at the June 23 council session. 

I am unaware of any news coverage of this important appointment.  While it will be a 2 year contract, the person selected will probably serve for many years, perhaps decades.  This judicial position is important to our city.  I only learned of this today.  Anyone know more about this process?   Citizens should at least be aware enough to be able to comment at a council meeting before the actual confirmation.

A further question is how much does our council know of the candidates and this process?  As the council must approve, have they been involved in the process?  Or, as I have heard, is only council president Cathy Lehman involved?  I do not think our daily newspaper has reported this.

This appointment is one of the most important of our city government.  Should it be a more open public process?  

Dick Conoboy  //  Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 2:46 pm

Add to that the announcement late this morning that Jeff Thomas, the city Planning Director will be leaving for a new post in Samamish as of 20 Jun.  The announcement follows: 

Planning Director announces resignation to accept job in Sammamish
Posted: June 10, 2014 11:16:30 AM PDT
Jeff Thomas, Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Bellingham, has resigned his position to accept a similar job with the City of Sammamish, Washington.
Thomas has been employed by the City since 2007, and served as director for the past four years. He oversaw multiple neighborhood and community planning efforts, and was responsible for various continuous program and service improvements in the Permit Center.
“Under Jeff’s leadership, we have completed numerous plans that will ultimately make our City a better place, including the Fairhaven Neighborhood and Urban Village Plan, the York Neighborhood Plan, and many other plans and projects,” Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville said. “He also initiated the City’s first application of “lean” principles, sponsoring a staff team that has gone on to make key improvements to our permit process.”
Thomas’ last day at the City will be June 20, 2014.
Linville said she expects to name an interim director shortly, and will begin the recruitment and selection process for a new director as soon as possible.Planning Director announces resignation to accept job in Sammamish + Link


John Servais  //  Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 3:10 pm

Yes, and NWCitizen had that news yesterday and posted it as a blog post yesterday afternoon.  As the post noted, he starts with Sammamish on July 1. 


Michael Lilliquist  //  Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 6:34 pm

When asked if any city council member wanted to be involved in the interviewing process, I volunteered. (I have not heard that any other city council member expressed an interest.) I will participate in all-day interviews of candidates this Thursday. I have met none of them, but I do have their application materials. My input will be advisory only during this phase. The voting will occur later, once the mayor has made her choice.

I think it is important to realize that the Hearings Examiner is created and empowered to make “judicial” determinations that otherwise would have to be made by the city council. In cities without a hearings examiner, the city council still decides. Inasmuch as the city council serves the public and no one else, my point of view is that the hearings examiner must do the same.

Frankly, I think it will be difficult to judge who will perform this duty best, but it will be my goal to try to make that judgment if I can.


Dawn Sturwold Retiring End of Month

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.

3 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014

The Whatcom Republicans’ Huge PCO Advantage

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The value of a Precinct Committee Officer . . .

1 comments; last on May 07, 2014

Village Books

In historic Fairhaven. Take Exit 250 from I-5.

Charter Review and District Only Voting

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 10:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

A simple explanation of the Charter Review and analysis of District only voting

0 comments

County Considers Purchasing Toxic Property

Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 10:32 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs into the county's plan to buy the county morgue

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Rep. Vincent Buys Appears to Break State Fundraising Laws

Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 11:24 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley catches State Rep. Vincent Buys for soliciting funds during session

0 comments

County Hires GPT Permit Lead as Senior Planner

Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 10:51 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs into an unusual hiring decision at the County Planning Dept

1 comments; last on Mar 10, 2014

Have You Exceeded Your Right To Information?

Sat, Feb 01, 2014, 1:35 am  //  Wendy Harris

Filing a public record request could land a citizen in jail under a proposal reflected in a Herald opinion article.

2 comments; last on Feb 03, 2014

Cascadia Weekly Blasts Waterfront Plan

Wed, Dec 04, 2013, 11:53 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham City Council and Port of Bellingham finalize the waterfront plan. In his weekly Gristle, Tim Johnson blasts the corrupt public process.

4 comments; last on Dec 05, 2013

Treaty Rights and Public Rights Ignored In Overwater Walkway

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4 comments; last on Oct 16, 2013

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Government is Good

Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 3:20 pm  //  John Servais

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Over $330,000 raised and spent on elections in Whatcom County

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Privacy Story of Feds Stripping All

Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 12:24 pm  //  John Servais

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Water Agreement Fails Scrutiny

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Zero Public Process for New Jail

Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 9:29 am  //  John Servais

Riley Sweeney has a short but important expose over at the Political Junkie today.

1 comments; last on Jul 12, 2013

Greenways Levy Money Used for AstroTurf

Sun, Jun 30, 2013, 11:28 am  //  John Servais

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15 comments; last on Jul 02, 2013

Sen. Doug Ericksen Co-opts rather than Cooperate

Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 7:29 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney examines Sen. Ericksen's legislative methods

0 comments

NWCitizen Stands With Edward Snowden

Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 1:53 pm  //  John Servais

Edward Snowden is a very courageous patriot, in the opinion of the publisher of NWCitizen.

3 comments; last on Jun 14, 2013

Caught In The Whatcom Court System

Fri, May 31, 2013, 5:43 pm  //  John Servais

Luba Pekisheva has been given a confusing run around in our Whatcom County courts for over three years. Judges, prosecutors and clerks have all participated.

0 comments

Freedom Academy Comes to Whatcom County

Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 6:52 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley attends Tea Party training and runs afoul of Rep. Overstreet

1 comments; last on Apr 22, 2013

Senator Ericksen Displays His Colors

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 4:01 pm  //  John Servais

Riley Sweeney has posted a great video clip of Sen. Doug Ericksen flouting rules and legal procedures at a Senate hearing in Olympia.

0 comments

City Controls Chuckanut Park - Not New Park District

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 3:47 pm  //  John Servais

The election created a new park district with taxing power - but with NO control over Chuckanut Ridge - the 100 acre woods.

1 comments; last on Feb 23, 2013

Waterfront EIS Revised Without Public Process

Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 10:40 pm  //  Wendy Harris

An "Updated Preferred Alternative" reduces the number of waterfront jobs and expands the boundary of the waterfront district.

0 comments

The County Planning Commission is Broke

Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 1:09 am  //  Wendy Harris

The planning commission no longer serves its purpose due to Council's poor appointment choices

2 comments; last on Feb 10, 2013

Doug Ericksen’s Opening Moves

Tue, Jan 15, 2013, 5:53 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley looks into Ericksen's legislative efforts this session

1 comments; last on Jan 22, 2013

The Public Locked out of Jail Selection Process

Sat, Nov 10, 2012, 10:53 am  //  Riley Sweeney

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1 comments; last on Nov 12, 2012

Stealth Politics Returns

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The Whatcom county Voters’ Pamphlet containing misleading and untrue statements by unregistered, unaccountable and anonymous front groups.

3 comments; last on Nov 06, 2012

Rep. Jason Overstreet’s Record

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7 comments; last on Dec 02, 2012

Rep. Vincent Buys’ Record

Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 9:22 am  //  Riley Sweeney

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1 comments; last on Dec 02, 2012

The REAL Problem With Costco

Fri, Aug 17, 2012, 12:50 am  //  Wendy Harris

The Mayor's Negotiations With Costco Undercuts City Permit Procedures And Public Process

4 comments; last on Aug 17, 2012

Coal Free Bellingham: Point Proven?

Thu, Aug 09, 2012, 9:30 pm  //  Larry Horowitz

Questions raised by the Superior Court's barring of the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights initiative from being placed on the ballot.

21 comments; last on Aug 17, 2012

We have met the enemy and [s]he is…

Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 8:18 am  //  Larry Horowitz

... the person who recently had this to say about the Sunnyland Neighborhood rezone application

9 comments; last on Aug 01, 2012

Last chance, file for PCO

Fri, May 18, 2012, 11:27 am  //  Riley Sweeney

A short plea for public involvement from Riley

0 comments

Video of port commissioners is posted

Wed, Apr 18, 2012, 12:28 pm  //  John Servais

A 26 minute video of the port commissioners explaining their positions on the firing of executive director Charlie Sheldon is posted.

7 comments; last on Apr 19, 2012

Congressional Candidates and Overstreet’s Town Hall

Sun, Feb 19, 2012, 6:37 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley at The Political Junkie attends a forum of Congressional Candidates, and a town hall meeting in Lynden

0 comments

UPDATE: City of Bham Moonlighting Issue - More Documents

Tue, Jan 31, 2012, 12:58 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley updates us on the latest facts coming to light about City of Bellingham employee moonlighting

2 comments; last on Feb 01, 2012

Sam Crawford Faces Ethical Concerns . . . AGAIN

Thu, Dec 15, 2011, 2:44 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Local blogger Shane Roth files ethical complaint over Crawford's sweetheart deals

3 comments; last on Dec 16, 2011

UPDATE: City’s response focused on favoritism, not lost revenue

Wed, Nov 30, 2011, 7:51 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

More on the city employee moonlighting issue

0 comments

TPJ Exclusive: Little Documented Oversight for City Employee Moonlighting

Mon, Nov 28, 2011, 6:29 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The Political Junkie breaks a story of employee moonlighting within city of Bellingham

7 comments; last on Nov 30, 2011

CameraGate:  Red-light safety or city revenue?

Mon, Nov 21, 2011, 2:00 am  //  Guest writer

With budget woes, Bellingham passes on safety in favor of cash. Starting in 2008, Bellingham officials were coached by ATS on how to get Red Light cameras through…

26 comments; last on Nov 30, 2011

Padden Trails Rezone – You Should Be Worried

Tue, Nov 15, 2011, 11:43 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The Padden Trails rezone effort is a misuse of the Infill Tool Kit on the outskirts of Bellingham.

8 comments; last on Nov 16, 2011

From The Political Junkie: Crawford’s Secret Emails

Tue, Apr 26, 2011, 4:39 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney does a public records request on Sam Crawford

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From a Political Junkie: Doug Ericksen Threatens to Arrest the Press

Mon, Mar 14, 2011, 2:34 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

At the mid-session townhall meeting, Doug Ericksen would rather threaten the press than have his words recorded

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The New Jail: Pete? Let’s have a talk

Fri, Feb 04, 2011, 5:29 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney talks about the Jail Meeting

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Learn the Facts from Foreign Media

Wed, Dec 08, 2010, 3:21 am  //  John Servais

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange faces rape charges. The facts are revealed only by foreign news media.

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Wikileaks is serving Democracy

Wed, Dec 01, 2010, 9:59 pm  //  John Servais

Updated Dec 3. I support WikiLeaks and their release of government documents so citizens can vote intelligently.

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Council passes Red Light Cameras 6 - 1

Tue, Nov 23, 2010, 10:06 am  //  John Servais

Seth Fleetwood was one vote against, saying this is an Orwellian notion.

4 comments; last on Nov 25, 2010

Red Light Cameras = Revenue

Fri, Nov 19, 2010, 12:32 pm  //  John Servais

Revenue, not safety, is the reason for red light cameras.

6 comments; last on Nov 26, 2010

Open letter to Bellingham Planning Director Jeff Thomas re: Fairhaven Highlands application deadline

Sun, Oct 31, 2010, 7:20 pm  //  Larry Horowitz

Updated Sun, Oct 31. An open letter to Bellingham Planning Director Jeff Thomas re: Fairhaven Highlands application deadline

12 comments; last on Oct 28, 2010

Lummi Ferry Petition is Linked

Wed, Sep 01, 2010, 3:40 pm  //  John Servais

A petition to the federal government online at skookum.us. It asks they step in to resolve the impasse between the Lummi and Whatcom County.

2 comments; last on Sep 06, 2010

Cooperation no substitute for small libraries

Sat, Aug 07, 2010, 10:18 am  //  John Servais

A library card from any Whatcom County library can now be used at any library in the county

5 comments; last on Aug 15, 2010

City bumbles on Chuckanut Ridge extension

Wed, Aug 04, 2010, 10:12 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham Planning Department is giving quiet extensions to the Chuckanut Ridge developer - propping up the property value.

1 comments; last on Aug 04, 2010

From a Political Junkie: R-71: Citizen votes or citizen legislation?

Mon, May 03, 2010, 6:36 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Is the referendum/initiative process about being a citizen legislator, or more like voting to put something on the ballot?

0 comments

Lummi Accolade: Brave, Smart and Honest

Fri, Feb 05, 2010, 2:23 am  //  Tip Johnson

Lummi officials and Lummi Island residents meet -Village to Village

2 comments; last on Feb 07, 2010

State legislators propose fees for public info

Wed, Feb 03, 2010, 5:39 pm  //  Guest writer

By guest writer Marilyn Olsen. A Bill seeks to impose fees on those requesting access to public documents.

2 comments; last on Feb 07, 2010

The Way I See It - Death by Secrecy

Wed, Jan 27, 2010, 6:59 am  //  Ham Hayes

Issues are no longer relevant when secrecy is the name of the game.

1 comments; last on Jan 27, 2010

The Lummi Blockade

Sat, Jan 23, 2010, 8:15 pm  //  Tip Johnson

The Lummi Nation appears prepared to implement a threatened blockade of Lummi Island commencing February 14th

1 comments; last on Jan 24, 2010

Whatcom Middle School controversy

Sat, Dec 12, 2009, 4:07 pm  //  John Servais

A new website dedicated to discussion of this issue is now online at citizensofbellingham.org We also encourage comme

7 comments; last on Dec 15, 2009

Fair and Balanced Reporting: Blood in the Streets

Wed, Nov 25, 2009, 1:25 pm  //  Tip Johnson


Paul de Armond's recent article about Leonard Zeskind's new book, "Blood and Poli

3 comments; last on Nov 29, 2009

The Port of Chmelik

Tue, Nov 24, 2009, 6:12 am  //  John Servais

Seems like the offices of Frank Chmelik, the attorney for the Port of Bellingham, are becoming our defacto Port offices. Instead of conferences and meetings at the Port,…

2 comments; last on Nov 25, 2009

 

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