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Snohomish to add more staff to focus on public needs

This story has been updated May 25 online to correct salary and pay package figures and to add to the reporting on the duties of one of the incoming new jobs.

Mayor Linda Redmon is shoring up a community services division as one of a series of expansions within City Hall to respond to public needs.
“What we are looking at doing is a proactive model of business” at the city, Redmon told the City Council last week.
One piece of the plan adds three new positions under a director in a reshape and retitling of the city’s economic development department. The people would focus on community services, communications and intergovernmental needs, city administrator Heather Thomas explained.
In it, one new position would have a role of coordinating volunteer opportunities within the city as well as handling multiple technical needs such as grant work and emergency management. This job would a salary of $57,000 as part of a total package of $89,590.
Another would work on business relations, tourism and events promotion, economic development and additionally help with marketing outreach, communications and city branding. This job would pay a salary of $79,000 as part of a total package of $115,630.
A third new job would be a community navigator to act as a conduit between the public and human service organizations, as well be the new staff liaison to the city’s public safety commission. This job would pay a salary of $79,000 as part of a total package of $115,930.
Snohomish has already hired a new Economic Development Director and renamed the job title to the Director of Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives. Shari Ireton will be its new director, and she starts June 1. Ireton’s past experience includes being the director of communications for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, being front and center in the Oso landslide, and helped coordinate with county opioid abuse and prevention efforts. The city’s economic development director Wendy Poischbeg left this month to take a vice president role within Economic Alliance Snohomish County.
Poischbeg helped craft the new layout of duties in conversations while she was leaving, Thomas said.
The city is hiring a public works director, too. The city plans to announce who this week, Thomas said. Former city administrator Steve Schuller sought creating the public works director position to help balance the workload.
The city also plans to enlarge its water, streets and parks maintenance work. A parks maintenance position would increase from half-time to full-time.
Another position would focus on water compliance, including water quality at Blackman Lake.
The city plans to also temporarily hire a records specialist who would digitize archive material and help the public access city records. This limited-term job would pay a salay of $74,000 as part of a total package of $108,000 and would be paid for with American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
Finance Director Scott James said the expense of adding these positions is sustainable within the budget.
The City Council authorized a budget package with these positions and more in a 6-0 vote last week. Councilwoman Lea Anne Burke abstained.
The city budget has absorbed paying former City Administrator Steve Schuller his severance package for $152,000. In March, the City Council authorized the agreement after Redmon replaced him with Thomas. Schuller quickly landed in Oak Harbor as that city’s public works director.
The city’s finances are doing better than what was forecast. During 2021, the city received more than $1.1 million in sales tax receipts better than what was estimated within the budget, which was written during grimmer times in the coronavirus pandemic.
The budget package approved at council includes conducting a city facilities study, buying new web-based city assets software and dedicates $150,000 toward the Pilchuck River Bank Stabilization Project near the entrance to Pilchuck Park.




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