By Miki Mullor
The Sammamish City Council, in a 5-2 vote, selected David Rudat as its new interim City Manager. Rudat replaces former City Manager Rick Rudometkin, who was fired after only six months.
“Most qualified manager we have ever seen”
Rudat brings 40 years experience as a City Manager, Public Works Director and Fire Chief in various cities in California. He was the City Manager of the City of Orange, CA, for 10 years (Orange is a city with an equal area size to Sammamish but with twice the population). According to his online biography.
Rudat started his career at the City of Orange as a firefighter, the first firefighter to be hired under the age of 21 there, and rose through the ranks of the fire department – up to his appointment as Fire Chief in 1993. In 1995, Rudat was selected to be interim City Manager and was subsequently appointed as the permanent City Manager in 1996. Rudat retired from the City of Orange in 2005.
Rudat has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science, in Accounting/Business from Long Beach State University.
“Rudat is the most qualified and most experienced city manager we have ever seen in the city,” Mayor Karen Moran told the Sammamish Comment, “I’m very excited about having such an experienced manager lead the city administration.”
Indeed, former City Managers Ben Yazici and Lyman Howard, who served as City Managers from 2005 until 2018 had no prior experience as City Managers prior to their appointment in Sammamish. Former City Manager Rick Rudometkin managed only two small rural counties in Northern California and New Mexico. Larry Patterson, a six month interim City Manager, had prior City Manager experience as the City Manager in Bend, OR, a small town in the 2000s during Patterson’s time there.
Rudat is the first City Manager in Sammamish with experience from a large and complex city.
“Our City staff must operate in alignment with the City Council and their stated goals, objectives, and work plans,” Rudat told the Sammamish Comment, “I have an extensive and expansive band of experience in serving large and small communities as a professional City Manager. I look forward to leading staff in a nurturing and supportive manner so they, too, can successfully accomplish what is directed by our Council, with excellence.”
Familiar with Sammamish
This is not the first time Rudat is being considered by the City Council. Last year, after the City Council separated from former City Manager Lyman Howard, Rudat was one of the two finalists for the Interim City Manager position. City Council selected Larry Patterson and Rudat took an interim City Manager role with the City of Alameda in the Bay Area.
In response to a question on how familiar is he with the complexity of issues in Sammamish, Rudat said: “I was interviewed by the City Council roughly 18 months ago for this position and had been following many of the City’s issues prior to that, as I have family in the community and have visited frequently.”
Rudat’s daughter, Stephanie Rudat, lives in Sammamish with her husband, Andrew Stevens, the City’s Emergency Manager, and their 4 year old son, Brooklyn.
“I have closely monitored the challenges that the community has spoken out about through the recent Council elections, online, and in public comment at council meetings. I’ve listened intently and look forward to learning more as I meet with council, staff, regional partners, and community members,” added Rudat.
To avoid a conflict of interest for Stevens with his newly appointed City Manager father in law, the City is working with Eastside Fire and Rescue (EF&R) to transfer Stevens’ role there. This was not a new idea. Last year, then-interim City Manager Patterson proposed to move the Emergency Manager role to EF&R. With Rudat’s hiring, the plan was accelerated.
Six months contract – to start with
City Council has specifically requested the contract with its next interim City Manager to be for six months, acting cautiously following the oversized severance payments to former City Managers Rudometkin and Howard. Rudometkin was given a year worth of severance after working for the city for only six months.
“I have committed to serve the City Council, City staff, and community for the six month time period they have requested,” said Rudat, “but I have no restrictions or encumbrances to serving longer than six months if the City Council wishes so.”
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