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Rose resigns county administrator post
— Editor's note: information below was provided by a county-issued press release
The San Juan County Council announced today that San Juan County Administrator Pete Rose has resigned his position, effective June 8, to become city administrator of Lake Forest Park in King County.
“I appreciate the opportunity given to me to serve the county council and the people of San Juan County. My time with San Juan County has been a continuous learning experience,” Rose said. “I hope that I have left this organization a better place.”
Administrator of the city of Woodinville before joining San Juan County, Rose was among 50 applicants vying for the chief administrative post of Lake Forest Park, located on the shores of Seattle's Lake Washington and bordered by the cities of Kenmore, to the east, and Shoreline, to the west.
A city of three-and-a-half square miles, Lake Forest Park is home to 12,500 residents. It's population grew by 210 percent in the 1990s, in large part because of annexations. Led by newly elected Mayor Jane Goss, who took office Jan. 1, the city's executive branch consists of eight separate governmental departments, 54 full-time employees and an annual operating budget of $7.3 million.
Rose, who's expected to begin the Lake Forest Park assignment June 11, will earn an yearly salary of $127,000, according to a city press release announcing his hiring.
“We are very pleased to announce Mr. Rose’s selection as the new city administrator.” said Goss said. “(He) is well prepared to lead the city staff in the good work we do for the citizens of Lake Forest Park and the implementation of the city council goals.”
Rose began working as administrator in July of 2006. He was the first permanent county administrator hired after the adoption of the county’s home rule charter in November of 2005. His first task was to support the transition of the county government from a three-person elected commission to a government with a professional administrator and a six-member policymaking council.
“Pete has been a great asset to this county and we all wish him great success in his new position,” said County Council Chairwoman Patty Miller.
One of his earliest initiatives was equipping a council hearing room as a “smart room,” which enabled the council to stream its meetings live on the Internet and conduct meetings by video conference.
“That has made it possible for many more people to attend our council meetings than in counties many times our size” Rose said.
He has worked through difficult economic times for the county. In order to keep the county budget in balance, he initiated cuts that reduced its workforce by 15 percent between 2007 and 2011. He credits that success to the financial sacrifices made by county employees and the willingness of the employee union and guild to negotiate budget reduction measures. Unpaid furloughs and adjustments to benefits and wages enabled the county to keep essential services intact.
“They deserve our gratitude,” he said.
Rose established weekly department-head meetings and set a standard for the quality of staff reports from administrative departments to the council and made the reports easily available to the public.
To help sort out the complex budgeting process, he designed an annual county budget book which presented budget proposals in an understandable format, rather than previous “240 pages of greenbar computer printouts.” In 2011, he added comprehensive quarterly financial reports to the council, which has helped it react quickly to recent, unanticipated drops in revenue.
Rose also helped increase information on the county’s website. During his administration, 1,000s of public documents have been made accessible in searchable online archives. Hundreds of staff hours formerly spent answering public inquiries have been saved by posting information such as detailed property profiles from the assessor’s office, individual tax statements from the treasurers’ office, announcements of jury duty cancellations by the district court, the county’s meeting calendar, council agendas with downloadable staff reports, and the daily schedules of building inspectors.
During his term, despite budget difficulties and staff cutbacks, the county has taken major steps toward becoming compliant with the State’s Growth Management Act.
But Rose admits that he’s hardly ready to take a victory lap.
“This county government continues to face tough challenges,” he said. “Perhaps the toughest being the need to find sources of revenue that will fund the essential functions of its government at a sustainable level.”
Miller said the council will begin the process of seeking a successor immediately.