Reardon fires planning director as he begins transition

By Brian Kelly
Herald Writer


Snohomish County, WA - State Sen. Aaron Reardon will interview Snohomish County government's top managers this week and next to decide who he will keep on board when he takes over as county executive in January.

Faith Lumsden, the director of Planning and Development Services, already has been told she won't be working for the new administration.

"It doesn't fit my plans for the future," Reardon said, declining to elaborate.

Reardon won the executive's position last month and replaces 12-year executive Bob Drewel, who couldn't seek re-election again because of term limits.

Reardon did say Monday he would keep deputy executive Gary Weikel in his current position. Weikel was appointed by Drewel in August 2000.

Before that, Weikel had been an executive director for Drewel since 1992 and also had served for five years under the county's first executive, Willis Tucker.

Lumsden took over the county's planning and development department in early 2001.

"I'm sorry I won't have the chance to work with Aaron," Lumsden said.

Before she was appointed to the position by Drewel, Lumsden ran her own land-use consulting firm, Lumsden International, Inc. She also has worked as director of Bellevue's Land Use Division and as interim director of Kitsap County's Community Development Department.

Lumsden said she wasn't worried about landing on her feet and said she would look for consulting jobs in the short term, and may possibly restart her private practice.

Lumsden headed the county's planning and permitting department during tumultuous times. She took over as the county faced increasing growth pressures and the federal government was demanding action to protect endangered salmon.

Her staff was cut by more than 35 positions during two years of budget cuts. Lumsden also lost her planning division manager when he left for a job in Kitsap County. And the chairwoman of the county's planning commission quit in June from frustration over what she said was a lack of county support for the commission.

Lumsden's department also was criticized as slow and unpredictable in a consultant's report in October 2002. That report led to a reorganization of Planning and Development Services that is still ongoing.

"I am actually quite proud of the shape that the department is in," Lumsden said. "I think we're operating quite efficiently. I think the changes that we've made in the last year or two have been positive overall.

"There is lots more to do here," she added. "And I'll look forward to seeing how the new person takes over and moves the department forward."

Reardon continues to work on transition issues as he prepares for his swearing-in on Jan. 5. He has hired two people for his transition team: Brian Parry, his campaign manager, and Mark Funk, who has worked for 11 years with Pacific Public Affairs in Seattle. Parry will be the coordinator for the transition team while Funk will be the team's communications director.


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