Charisse Deschenes, first hired by the city of Sequim in 2014, departed this week after 10 years in various roles, including most recently deputy city manager/community and economic development director. (City of Sequim)

Charisse Deschenes, first hired by the city of Sequim in 2014, departed this week after 10 years in various roles, including most recently deputy city manager/community and economic development director. (City of Sequim)

Deputy manager leaves Sequim

Community, economic development position open

SEQUIM — A fixture of Sequim city leadership has ended her tenure after a decade of work on development.

Charisse Deschenes, Sequim’s deputy city manager/community and economic development director, left the city on Tuesday. She gave her 30-day notice in March.

“I’m exploring new opportunities and seeing what’s next for me,” Deschenes said.

“I view it as a positive change for my world.”

She said her resignation was amicable.

Deschenes started with the city in 2014 as a senior planner, and she’s served as assistant to the city manager, assistant city manager twice, interim city manager and acting city clerk.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything,” she said. “I’ve been involved in most city committees, too.”

Deschenes was a finalist for the city manager position following the firing of Charlie Bush in 2021. She served as interim city manager before the city hired Matt Huish in November 2021.

In February 2023, she took on the titles of deputy city manager and director of community development and economic development.

The director position was advertised on March 27 through the city’s website with no set closing date and a salary range of $127,129 to $160,401.

No public plans have been announced for the deputy city manager position.

Deschenes final salary was $135,200, according to city staff.

She intends to remain in Sequim for a while with plans only set to go hiking and visit family in Kansas.

Deschenes said her experience in Sequim was positive with wonderful coworkers, the ability to work with community members in many capacities, grow her management and leadership styles, and further her education.

“I believe the saying that when you leave a place, you want to leave it better, and through the work we’ve been able to do, I feel it’s going in a positive direction,” she said.

Looking ahead, Deschenes said her replacement’s largest duties will be to help update the city’s Comprehensive Plan and manage growth and development projects along with land use permitting.

“(The comprehensive plan) will be a lot of collaboration with other agencies, and public participation is a big deal,” she said.

Once it’s complete, aligning it with the Sequim Municipal Code will be key, too, Deschenes said.

Her parting wisdom to Sequim residents: “The best thing you can do for your community is get involved.”

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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