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Public Works Director job in Kirkland

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Organization:  City of Kirkland
Job Category:  Director Public Works
Job Type:  Full Time
Country:  USA
State/Province:  Washington (WA)
City:  Kirkland
Salary and Benefits:  $114,900 - $148,260 DOQ

Located 10 miles east of Seattle, Kirkland is situated along the shoreline of Lake Washington, with views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. Kirkland is the product of thoughtful planning, high-quality development, and extensive citizen involvement that has determined the shape and future of this popular Pacific Northwest community. Since completing a major annexation in 2011, the City encompasses approximately 17 square miles, with a population of 81,000 residents.

Kirkland is an active urban center with safe neighborhoods, vibrant retail and commercial centers, and an outstanding quality of life. Kirkland’s dynamic downtown area is a charming mix of art galleries, fine dining, and specialty boutiques, and serves as host to special events, musical performances, and a public art collection.

Kirkland offers a wide variety of housing opportunities, and residents enjoy the amenities of metropolitan living combined with the natural environmental beauty of the area. The City has made preservation of natural resources, parks and open space a high priority, resulting in an extensive park system that includes 47 parks, nine of which are located along five miles of shoreline. Kirkland’s Performing Arts Center draws major national and regional events to City, and provides an entertainment venue for local performing arts groups. The Seattle metropolitan area offers museums, theater, opera, symphony, and ballet. The Seattle Mariners (baseball), Seattle Seahawks (football), Sounders (soccer), Storm (basketball), and Thunderbirds (hockey) provide year-round entertainment for sports fans. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy activities at the area’s numerous lakes, rivers, and mountains.

The Lake Washington School District has an outstanding reputation, and is a source of community pride, serving students in grades K-12. The region also has colleges, universities, and private schools serving the community, including the University of Washington, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, and Northwest University.


The City of Kirkland has a Council-Manager form of government, which provides for the at-large, non-partisan election of a seven memberCity Council that serves four-year terms. From among their seven-member body, the City Council members elect a Mayor to serve a two-year term.

The Mayor and City Council appoint a City Manager who is responsible for management of the City. The current City Manager has served Kirkland for four years, and continues to promote a spirit of pride, quality, and innovation throughout the organization.


The Public Works Department has responsibility for Streets & Grounds; Development & Environmental Services; Capital Projects, Transportation Engineering; Water, Surface Water & Waste Water; and Fleet Services. The Department employs 109 full-time employees, and has a 2014 operating budget of $57 million and a capital improvement budget of $37 million.


The new Director reports to the City Manager, and serves as an important member of the City’s executive management team. The Director is responsible for managing services within the department, and for maintaining an effective relationship with the City Council, the City Managers’ Office, other operating departments, regional agencies, and the community.

Some of the current issues with which the new Public Works Director will be involved include:

STRATEGIC PLANNING – The City has grown rapidly in the past three years through annexation. As the economy improves the City is continuing to grow, through infill and redevelopment of residential and large-scale commercial properties. The new Director must possess exceptional strategic planning skills—to ensure that infrastructure and utility resources stay concurrent with anticipated growth. The Director must have the skill to evaluate short- and long-term needs; the vision to identify challenges and opportunities; and the ability to carry projects from concept through design, financing, approval, and implementation. The Director must also have the capacity to analyze staffing and deployment issues, and to coordinate effectively with other City departments as services are extended and redefined.

CROSS KIRKLAND CORRIDOR – The City’s vision for the Cross Kirkland Corridor is quickly becoming a reality. This 5.75-mile segment of the 42-mile Eastside Rail Corridor was purchased by the City of Kirkland in 2012. This recreational and multi-modal transportation corridor will one day define Kirkland’s commitment to balanced transportation; economic development; and parks, open space, and recreation. In 2012, Kirkland residents and businesses demonstrated their support of the Cross Kirkland Corridor project, through approval of a permanent parks property tax levy which will provide partial funding for operation and maintenance of the Corridor, and for construction of an interim trail. The bid process is currently underway for interim trail construction, and a Master Plan will soon be adopted that provides a vision for the trail’s future. The new Director will be tasked with designing, funding, and prioritizing projects that will guide development of this important asset.

MASTER PLANNING – The Public Works Director will be responsible for helping to define and implement future facility and infrastructure needs. Transportation, Surface Water, and Solid Waste Master Plans, as well as a Water Comprehensive Plan, are currently underway. Water, Sewer, Stormwater, and Solid Waste rate studies will also be undertaken in 2014. The Director will be instrumental in securing funding for implementation of these capital plans after adoption.

CAPITAL PROJECTS – The Public Works Department is currently managing a variety of large-scale capital projects. The 85th Street reconstruction was recently bid and the Park Lane reconstruction project will commence in 2014. Both will require careful oversight to minimize impact on adjacent businesses and the public. Phase I implementation of a new Intelligent Transportation System is underway—the City has secured grants in support of the project, however additional revenues will be required to fully implement the system.

MAINTENANCE SERVICES – With Kirkland’s growth, the once state-of-the-art maintenance facility is now in need of expansion. The new Director will be responsible for determining the best approach for providing new space, and for identifying funding for the expansion. A new $3 million annual road levy will support expanded street maintenance services, and will offer the opportunity to complete larger-scale projects, and to reinvent the way services are provided. The City currently has a robust GIS; however the current maintenance management system is not integrated with the GIS, and is no longer meeting the City’s needs. The Director will need to identify new systems, obtain funding, and take the lead in implementing a system throughout Public Works and other Departments. While the City provides water, sewer and stormwater services to over half of Kirkland, the Northshore Utility District serves a significant portion of the community. The Director will be asked to evaluate this utility partnership, and to identify opportunities that will optimize services throughout the City.

TEAM BUILDING – The Public Works Department includes a staff of 109 personnel, with a high level of competency, morale, and teamwork. The new Director will be required to maintain this strong and coordinated team; continue to inspire pride within the department; as well as retain accountability, a strong customer service orientation, and a commitment to enduring quality. Additionally, the Director will be responsible for reviewing the organizational structure, to ensure that staff resources are being utilized effectively to meet current and future needs.

LABOR RELATIONS – Public Works Department personnel below the supervisory level are represented by the Teamsters and AFSCME, with contracts that expire at the end of 2014. The new Director will build upon the trust and collaborative labor/management relationship that exists within the Department; foster consistent decision making; ensure seamless policies; and participate in regular Labor/Management Team meetings.

PARTNERSHIPS – The Public Works Director will serve as a key member of the City Management Team, and will serve as a Departmental representative in inter-departmental projects and activities. The Director will also represent the City of Kirkland with other agencies and organizations in the State and region.


Candidates for this position should be exceptional leaders, capable of managing and directing the Public Works Department, while serving as a contributor to the broader organizational vision. The selected candidate must show an interest and aptitude in all areas of public works and utilities administration, including capital project planning, financing and construction; local and regional transportation; municipal operations; regulatory compliance; and information technology. The candidate must have a proven track record of completing complex projects on time and within budget.

This position will require the development of strong relationships with individuals and organizations, and will demand excellent written and oral communication skills. The Public Works Director must be a strategic thinker, with an understanding of how today’s actions will affect the Department’s long-term success. This position requires a person with a high energy level, capable of operating with significant independence and initiative, yet open to innovative problem solving solutions. It is extremely important that the Public Works Director be approachable, available, and able to communicate with all members of the staff, City Council and community.

The Public Works Director must be an effective leader of people and processes; able to utilize and develop the talents of staff and subordinates; to advocate on behalf of the Department; and to facilitate a team environment. The Director must be a good listener; politically savvy; and a person with imagination, vision and flexibility. She/he must accept and internalize the organizational values of the City, and have a broad view of their role within the organization. A good sense of humor and a “can do” attitude are essential.

A proven record of advancement and personal stability with past employers must be evident. This is a position of public trust; personal integrity and ethics must be beyond reproach.


This position requires extensive operations and/or engineering experience in a complex, multi-faceted environment, including five years of senior management responsibility. Additional experience in strategic planning, teambuilding, and regional partnerships is desirable.

Candidates must possess a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in public administration, engineering, business, or a related field. Public sector experience is strongly preferred, and a Master’s Degree is a plus.


The City of Kirkland has established a salary range for the position of $114,900 - $148,260 depending on qualifications. The City offers an excellent benefit package, including the PERS retirement plan, a 401k plan in lieu of social security, and a voluntary 457 deferred compensation plan. A choice of medical plans, vision, dental, life insurance, flexible spending accounts, and tuition reimbursement programs are available.


The final filing date for this position is June 24, 2014. To be considered for the position, please submit a cover letter, resume, current salary, and references (e-mail preferred) to Tara Adams at:

Adams Consulting

9305 NE 191st Street

Bothell, WA 98011


425.483.6510 fax


Following the filing date, resumes will be screened in relation to the criteria outlined in this brochure. Candidates with the most relevant qualifications will be invited for preliminary interviews. Interviews will be followed by reference checks after receiving the candidate’s permission. Candidates deemed most qualified will be invited to participate in final interviews.

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