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Mill Creek City Council on track to select new City Manager

The two finalists in the search for a new Mill Creek City Manager were introduced to the public at City Hall reception on Tuesday evening, October 27th.
City Manager finalists Wierzbicki and Armstrong

The two finalists in the search for a new Mill Creek City Manager were introduced to the public at City Hall reception on Tuesday evening, October 27, 2012.

Christopher Wierzbicki and Ken Armstrong each gave a short presentation on their background and interest in the City Manager position, and then mingled with the crowd to introduce themselves one-on-one.

Mill Creek’s search for a new City Manager began in July with the selection of Karras Consulting, an executive search firm, to manage the recruitment process. Karras Consulting was chosen over a much larger firm because of their attention to detail and the cost effectiveness of their proposal.

The father and daughter team of Dennis and Marissa Karras spread their net far and wide, finding a total of 158 interested candidates. After preliminary interviews and background checks the Karrases narrowed the field down to a much smaller “A list” of candidates for the Mill Creek City Council to interview at a special October 16th City Council meeting.

Wierzbicki and Armstrong were chosen as Mill Creek City Manager finalists at the October 23rd City Council meeting.

The Mill Creek City Council will meet on Thursday evening, November 1st, to interview Wierzbicki and Armstrong one more time in executive session.

The City Council intends to make their selection for City Manager in a public study session after the interviews.

Christopher Wierzbicki, PE

In his current role, and for the last five years, Chris has served the City of Bainbridge Island in several leadership capacities that reflect his expertise and training.

His responsibilities with the City include development and management of complex capital construction projects, overseeing the operations of the Planning and Community Development Department, and serving in the capacity of the City Engineer.

He has also served on the City Manager's leadership team, where he led, advised, and participated in municipal management challenges such as the re-organization of unionized and nonunionized labor, the development of cash flow and other financial reporting tools, and the development of the City's Capital Facilities Plan.

Prior to his municipal experience in Washington State, Chris lived in Philadelphia, where he worked in the private sector as an engineering project manager.

His private sector work focused primarily on urban in-fill and brownfield redevelopment, often in support of the construction of income-qualified housing.

Those responsibilities included building relationships and furthering the goals of public agencies such as the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the Philadelphia Water Department.

Chris has a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Villanova University, a master's degree in Community and Regional Planning from Temple University, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Washington.

When he's not at work, Chris enjoys spending time with his family on the beaches of Puget Sound, and also plays the trumpet with the Jazz Night School ensemble.

Ken Armstrong

Ken Armstrong is currently Director of Security, Emergency Management and Safety for Seattle Public Utilities. His previous positions with the City of Seattle include Administrator of the regional Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County and Director of Solid Waste at Seattle Public Utilities.

As the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program's first Administrator, Mr. Armstrong guided the program through a comprehensive internal performance review and strategic planning process, which led to measurably increased efficiencies and improved service delivery.

Under Mr. Armstrong's leadership, Seattle's Solid Waste Division improved the quality of its services while reducing its operating costs.

Mr. Armstrong, a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, served 22 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. His Coast Guard career included two command assignments – Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Station South Caicos, BWI, and Commanding Officer Coast Guard Cutter Baranof.

Mid-way through his Coast Guard career, Mr. Armstrong attended the University of Washington's Graduate School of Public Affairs, where he also served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Quantitative Analysis. Subsequent assignments included serving as Administrative Services Director for the Coast Guard's 13 (Pacific Northwest) District.

Mr. Armstrong's responsibilities included implementing the region's annual $20M operating budget, monitoring annual budget performance and overseeing the region's human resources functions.

Mr. Armstrong also served as the regional Coast Guard Congressional Affairs/Government Relations Officer, establishing strong relationships with local, state and congressional offices. In this capacity, Mr. Armstrong played an important role in resolving numerous highly complex and sensitive incidents such as the grounding of the motor vessel New Carissa on the south Oregon coast and its subsequent oil spill; resumption of whaling by the Makah tribe; and tanker and merchant vessel safety in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Armstrong was selected as the sole Coast Guard representative on two U.S. State Department delegations - one to the People's Republic of China and one to Japan.

Ken and his wife Susan reside in Edmonds, Washington.

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