By Sue Misao
Northwest Asian Weekly
Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray has announced key staff roles and hires within the Office of the Mayor and named several new City department head appointments.
Murray will hire two deputy mayors (salaries: $170,000 each) — an internal-facing one, “with a focus on what’s going on within city government,” and an external-facing one, “with a focus on what’s going on in our communities.” He named Hyeok Kim to the latter.
Kim is currently the executive director of InterIm Community Development Association. Murray called her “an incredibly well-respected voice in our community, and someone known near and far for her integrity.”
Kim, who said she remained neutral on the candidates during the mayoral race, admitted she didn’t have to think about the job offer for very long.
“The mayor laid out his vision for this role,” she said on Wednesday (Dec. 11). “He wants the City to be responsive to our marginalized communities, and has talked about how to do outreach to different neighborhoods and constituency groups.”
Kim’s job will be to bring information from Seattle’s various communities into the mayor’s office, ultimately to affect his policies.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “He wants meaningful engagement and involvement with communities.” Kim will become Seattle’s first female Asian American deputy mayor.
Murray’s internal-facing deputy will be 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.
Murray named Ben Noble, current director of Seattle City Council Central Services, as budget director (salary: $170,000), describing him as someone “widely respected for his competence and professionalism.” Jeff Reading, formerly the mayor’s deputy chief of staff with the Democratic Caucus in the state Senate, will be communications director, and in what the he described as ‘a real coup,’ Murray announced that Robert Feldstein, current chief of staff in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, will be the director for the newly created Office of Policy & Innovation (salary: $170,000).
Mike Fong, currently an analyst with the Seattle City Council central staff, will be deputy director of the Office of Policy and Innovation (salary: $130,000).
Murray appointed Aaliyah Gupta as interim director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (salary: $116,000). Gupta is the founding executive director of Chaya, a community-based nonprofit working on domestic violence issues in the South Asian community. The mayor will conduct a national search to identify a permanent hire. (end)
Murray directed people to his transition website, where applications from those interested in joining the administration are still being accepted. The website can be found at www.seattle.gov/mayoraltransition.
Sue Misao can be reached at email@example.com.