Breaking News: Sammamish prepared to award contract for new, interim city manager

Lyman Howard

The Sammamish City Council is prepared to award a contract Monday, at a special council meeting, for an interim city manager.

This follows an executive session at the start of the meeting “to evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment and to review the performance of a public employee.”

The only public employee position the city council has direct authority over it the city manager.

This means current city manager Lyman Howard appears on his way out.

Howard’s departure has been rumored for months. At this point, it’s unclear if he is resigning or will be fired.

In a letter dated June 26 from Prothman Co of Issaquah, Greg Prothman outlines the terms of the contract to provide an interim city manager. Prothman already signed the letter.

The company provided city managers to other cities in Washington.

There is no guarantee the council will award the contract Monday. But it’s widely known Howard lost the support of a majority of the council.

Howard’s oversight of the council’s review of traffic concurrency and disagreements over the building moratorium are two of the topics at issue, but there are more.

On Tuesday, at yet another special meeting, the council will discuss Emergency Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan Related to Transportation Concurrency and Level of Service. Also on Tuesday, an executive session is listed to interview candidates for public employment and further review of the performance of a public employee.

9 thoughts on “Breaking News: Sammamish prepared to award contract for new, interim city manager”

  1. This concurrency fiasco is the biggest threat to Sammamish since incorporation in l999. If city council members fail to put an end to this endless, useless debate about concurrency, city governance will grind to a halt. We will see huge impacts on city finances, city maintenance, city planning. Chaos will reign and in the end, tax payers will pay the price. At the heart of this chaotic decent into misgovernment are the “egos” of two or three city council members. After a year and $500K extra spending, Council members Malchow’s and Hornish’s misguided efforts to revise the concurrency management system failed and they are seeking to take us poor tax payers back to square one and another round of misadventures that will cost us dearly. Keep in mind, only two states have concurrency requirements. Concurrency is a small element in a more comprehensive approach to growth. No other cities in our region are wasting resources on repeated debates on matters that require long term planning at Federal, State, and local levels. More and more this is looking like Saturday night drunks vomiting up their dinner while gulping down cheap booze. Time citizens said “stop it.” grow up and manage city affairs appropriately.
    I agree with Scott Hamilton, it is time to end this concurrency debate, end the moratorium, and address the many pressing issues facing Sammamish, our region, State and Federal governments.

    1. I don’t see any ego’s here, what I do see is a prudent review in light of pathetic data. Bad data makes for bad decisions. $500K of extra spending and getting very little out of it is ALL on the city manager. The only thing I see grinding to a halt around here is traffic.

      1. Prudent review in light of pathetic data? The data is good, and by prudent review if you mean agonizing month after month massaging the data, spending an extra $500,000 plus paralyzing the city staff, then your definition of prudent needs to be reworked. And the city manager follows what the council directs him to do, as the previous city manager did on the previous concurrency ordinance.

  2. Don –

    There is clear admission from Fehr & Peers that the traffic model ignores congestion, a clear admission that indeed there is congestion and clear admission that they didn’t think congestion should be measured by concurrency model – in contrary to what they promised they will do. We have shown proof (by video) that staff DID NOT follow council’s direction.

    This is all documented in many video clips and news stories.

    And why? because it will likely show Sammamish cannot grow anymore, that is already stretched beyond its limits, something all of us who commute daily, know already, and the developers fear.

    1. Mr. Mullor, you invite me to correct you, the model does measure congestion. Your statement here is wrong. Moreover, you consistently ignore the fact that concurrency is for the purpose of managing development not stopping it. Your opinions ignore basic facts, established principles, and state legislation.

      I invite you to respond. Do you have any interest in other issues? How about the city’s finances? How about affordable housing? How about providing local services? How about the grant money lost and tax payer money wasted if this concurrency fiasco continues?

      Heaven help Sammamish if Malchow and Hornish convince two other council members to support their increasingly irrational and incoherent demands to spend another year kicking the dead “concurrency” horse. A lack of common sense, I fear, is a contagious affliction that spreads rapidly if not recognized for what it is and challenged vigorously. I invite my fellow citizens to join me in saying “stop it, we’ve had enough of this. Get focused on the real issues.” I don’t know about you but I find a year’s time and a half million dollars wasted ending with an admission by those council members responsible that they where completely wrong, completely unacceptable. instead of accusing staff and consultants of a lack of integrity and complete professional incompetence they should have listened to them and completed a review of concurrency within six months and got back on track with the Transportation Master Plan and other urgent matters. And, can you believe it, city councill members, Malchow and Hornish to be exact, want to repeat their poor performance again. Unbelievable.

      Mr. Mullor, surprise me. Write about something other than concurrency. How about the city’s finances. Mr. Hamilton knows city history better than most. He remembers I am sure that early on after incorporation city council members were told that the city’s revenues lacked diversity. This is still true. Mr. Mullor, you should understand that without the revenues associated with development (that pays for development) the city’s financial condition would be sad indeed. Yes we have development. Yes we are seeing more traffic. But, we have added many community services, have an system of parks and trails an envy to all, and people are eager to move here to enjoy the benefits of living here. And, may I add, a number of major road projects are underway right now.

      Council members Malchow, Hornoish and any other council member falling under their spell, lets not repeat last year.

      1. John Galvin’s comment makes several points that invite a response.

        First, in a two hour recorded interview, Sammamish staffer Cheryl Paston acknowledged the model does not measure congestion. https://sammamishcomment.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/citys-new-concurrency-plan-doesnt-measure-congestion-overall-travel-time/ Mr. Galvin is incorrect to assert otherwise.

        Second, concurrency, under state law, does provide that if concurrency cannot be met, a project may be denied. The law also provides that land use zoning may be revisited. Muller has cited statute and language.

        Third, concerning writing about other issues. Mr. Galvin is correct that there are other issues to write about, such as city finances. The Comment devoted many articles dating to the 2015 election, raising the alarm about city finances on a downward trajectory (something Mr. Galvin himself testified about in many a public comment session at council meetings). Then-city manager Ben Yazici, backed by his deputy, Lyman Howard and council members, denied there is any downward trend.

        Howard, now city manager (but apparently not for much longer), continues the refrain Sammamish is in good financial condition. The 2016 and 2018 city councils continued to buy into this, despite the clear and indisputable third-grade reading that the operating general fund does not have the money to support the more than $150m in road projects identified in the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). The Comment has written much about this.

        Mr. Galvin also mentions affordable housing, local service and the prospect of losing transportation grants. These issues all have been touched upon at one point or another.

        Fourth, Mr. Galvin asserts the city has wasted nearly a half a million dollars on the current concurrency examination. We actually are in agreement, but for different reasons. While Mr. Galvin believes the old model was OK and pursuing the new model a waste of time (although he believes it, too, is OK), we believe the new model is flawed. The consultants said the new model would measure congestion; it doesn’t (refer back to Paston’s own statements). The consultants said traffic improved between 2014 and 2016. This is preposterous. The consultants admitted that new model had not been validated upon reveal to the council. This is irresponsible. The council should have rejected the work outright at that point, demanded a refund of $400,000 and held the city manager accountable. The old model should have been fixed by eliminating the “pencil whipping” that artificially added capacity to lanes when in fact no new pavement was added.

        Fifth, the reason Muller and The Comment are focused all these many months on concurrency, transportation and the inevitable link to the Town Center is because last year the council, over Howard’s objections, and responding to citizen pressure, declared traffic to be the No. 1 priority in the city. The building moratorium is linked to pausing development while concurrency is fixed. The council made, in our view, a tactical error in setting a self-imposed deadline of July 17 to life the moratorium. This is next week. The concurrency-moratorium crisis (if you will) is coming to a head in nine days. Of course The Comment is going to focus on this.

        We have other topics in the queue to pursue. We just haven’t gotten there yet.

        But I will note once again that while Mr. Galvin complains about what is written and why we don’t write about topics he believes are important, I’ve twice offered him OpEd space to write about the issues he believes important. He has not responded to either offer.

        Finally, although everyone in city government and a select group of others know Mr. Galvin well, the casual reader may not.

        Mr. Galvin has a vested interest in lifting the moratorium as soon as possible. He is a landowner in the Southeast Quadrant of the Town Center, bordered by 228th, SE 8th and the Eastside Catholic road. He stands to gain financially once the moratorium is lifted and, according to emails obtained through public records request, he can complete the sale of his land to Town Center developer STCA. The Comment has no quibble with Galvin’s vested interest. He’s entitled to enrich himself and his family to the fullest extent possible. But he’s hardly a disinterested observer in the controversies he writes about.

  3. > I invite you to respond. Do you have any interest in other issues? How about the city’s finances? How about affordable housing? How about providing local services? How about the grant money lost and tax payer money wasted if this concurrency fiasco continues?

    John Galvin – why don’t you answer the above questions yourself first? The city staff salary and benefits are better than almost all private sector jobs and other government sector jobs. The city manager and assistant city manager get paid better than the governor of Washington state. The city bureaucracy has expanded unfettered in the past few years with no noticeable improvement in city services. Indeed, what service has the city provided that has improved during the tenure of this city manager? What we have is a de-forested city with uncontrolled development and unbearable traffic. The schools are being overcrowded.

  4. In order to attract staff, competitive salaries are necessary. Correct, salaries are substantial, but the city demands a lot of staff and competition for city staff is between cities and corporations such as Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google
    . A number of years ago I looked at this issue fairly closely. Staff salaries were not above salaries our neighbors offered. Our neighboring city staff numbers where considerably higher. Sammamish runs a very tight ship and has often bragged that it accompishes more with fewer staff than other cities. If you look at the numbers closely you will see that Sammamish staff numbers are relatively much lower than other regional cities. City staff numbers have not “expanded unfettered.” I just don’t have the time right now to present a comparison but I am confident that comparing Sammamish with, let us say, Mercer Island, we would be seen as a lean mean machine.
    Deforested city, bull. We have, again in comparison to most cities, more greenery. Years ago I looke at a comparison. Sammamish is about the size of Manahattan and has more park land than Manhattan.
    Upon what do you base your assessment that nothing has improved? I suspect this is a subjective judgement. Don’t see me as a defender of bureaucracy, but our city bureaucracy is not as Kafka depicted bureaucracy. It will be that way if we permit the likes of Malchow and Hornish to prevail. Many of their statements and actions are Kafkaesque.
    Have a good day.

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