Thur, Oct 9
The city has posted their press release on the hiring of Rick Sepler.
Wed, Oct 8 - 6:25 pm
Mayor Kelli Linville has phoned and confirmed the article is correct and Rick Sepler is our new Bellingham planning director. There will be a formal announcement on Thursday.
Wed, Oct 8 - 5:30 pm
So we went through the day with the mayor's office first not taking my calls, then not returning them and finally refusing to confirm or deny that Rick Sepler has been hired. All her admin assistant will say is they will announce on Thursday morning.
Wed, Oct 8 - 9 am
Rick Sepler has been chosen as the new Planning and Community Development Director for Bellingham, according to a reliable source. We await the mayor's formal announcement on this, expected either today or Thursday. She made the decision on Monday but in a phone call to her office on Tuesday, I was told a decision had not yet been made. Everyone at city hall already knows this morning. This post will probably encourage an announcement today.
In my opinion, she made the best choice in Rick Sepler. As you can read below, he is presently the planning director for Port Townsend. In his brief presentation of himself last Thursday he showed a belief in quality of residential living and a desire to adhere to the environmental and living values of Bellingham residents. This bodes for better working with neighborhoods and less cozyness with the developers. Lets hope.
Note - I corrected the date of the meet and greet after posting this Oct 8 morning.
Thursday, Oct 2 - below posted as original post - with title that selection “Was Near”
This afternoon, Bellingham city hall hosted a cozy Meet & Greet for selected “stakeholders” and the three finalists for the open position of Bellingham Planning and Community Development Director. Former director Jeff Thomas resigned in June and took the position in Sammamish down near Bellevue.
The new director is expected to be named soon - possibly tomorrow - by Mayor Kelli Linville. The position does not need council approval. Once appointed, the new director is expected to start immediately.
There are three final candidates. First is Derek Long of Bellingham, well known for co-founding Sustainable Connections and his years of work with the organization. Second is Kurt Creager, currently a housing developer in Clark County. He has worked as a planner for Yakima, as a member of King County development and planning, and as a lobbyist in Olympia. Third is Rick Sepler who is presently Director of Development Services for Port Townsend. He has experience as a planning consultant and is also an instructor for planning at the University of Washington.
Kurt and Rick are professional planners, with multiple degrees and extensive experience, and my guess is we will see one of them appointed by the mayor. The mayor will read the evaluations and comments by the approximately 40 people who attended. As I looked over the room it seemed more than half were city and county employees, with the rest from the local development and building community. Several local elected officials from the city and county were also present. Even a couple rural fire department employees - but why is beyond me. A cozy meeting with virtually everyone knowing everyone else. Hardly a meeting involving concerned citizens.
Legally speaking, the mayor can appoint anyone and is not required to have any public meet and greet. While I was told the general public was invited, I have yet to learn how. But if a meet and greet is held for the public, it only makes sense that the public has to be invited in order for it all to work. Maybe I’m missing something.
We’ll attempt to learn who is appointed our new city planner tomorrow and post it up. I saw no other reporters at the meeting. I only wish I had more time to follow these processes and inform the public earlier on what is happening.