Sequim city manager given high marks, pay raise; city agrees on temporary lease with Sequim Little League

City Manager Charlie Bush ()

City Manager Charlie Bush ()

SEQUIM — After nearly six months on the job, the city manager has the approval of the Sequim City Council.

The council Monday unanimously approved 6-0, with Councilwoman Candace Pratt absent, a pay increase for Charlie Bush, who succeeded former City Manager Steve Burkett in August 2015.

The decision follows Bush’s performance review in executive session Saturday. He received a rating of 8.7 out of 10.

Mayor Dennis Smith said council members recognize Bush is early into his tenure and there are things they will be able to better evaluate through a full budget cycle.

“But we are very pleased with the level of communication we have with Charlie and how well his empowering management style has been received by staff,” Smith said.

Bush receives a 1.5 percent pay increase, or $1,800 more a year, on top of his $120,000 base salary.

Bush was acknowledged for his weekly updates to the council and his efforts to bring community partners together.

However, council members said they want to prioritize reducing property crime rates and be more sensitive to local perceptions.

New Councilman Bob Lake said he’s “very pleased with Charlie’s performance today,” while fellow Councilman Ted Miller said Bush “has done an incredibly good job so far . . . we’re very thankful he’s our city manager.”

Bush told the council he’s thankful for the opportunity to work in Sequim.

The council also unanimously approved an interim agreement with the Sequim Little League to continue using the Dr. James F. Standard Memorial Youth Athletic Park off Silberhorn Road through the end of the year. They also retroactively approved contracts from 2011-15.

City Attorney Craig Ritchie said a long-term agreement has been difficult because of volunteer attrition in the program and the loss of institutional knowledge about legal matters, so they’ve continued a temporary agreement.

Ritchie said the Little League purchased property northeast of the park that is outside the Urban Growth Area, so city staff created a new temporary lease agreement to continue providing utilities.

City Parks Manager Joe Irvin said the interim contract through Dec. 31 allows time for more conversations about a better system for providing services.

Janet Gray, a Little League volunteer, said the league’s board of advisers is looking for a more symbiotic relationship that benefits the city and Little League.

She said the league hopes to have more aspects in writing, such as the level of care expected at the park.

Dr. Standard Park, on property donated by Maurice and Frances Sherk in 1975, is outside the city limits.

The agreement continues an arrangement in which the city provides utilities and Little League volunteers maintain the park.

Lake said the agreement is one of the ways the city is able to have fewer employees because the Little League does all the maintenance.

“The city benefits from this partnership,” he said.

Opening day for Sequim Little League is April 16.

A new opportunity is available to nonprofits looking to get their name out there as drivers enter the city of Sequim.

Two new kiosks built by a Boy Scout will host up to nine logos for voluntary nonprofit, nonpolitical, noncommercial organizations with the primary goal of providing services that directly benefit the citizens of Sequim, said City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese.

The City Council unanimously approved allowing logos on the kiosks at the end of the sidewalk on West Washington Street prior to the roundabout and on Simdars Road as vehicles come off U.S. Highway 101.

City staff said there aren’t specific membership requirements for eligible organizations and that religious organizations are eligible, too.

Each organization is limited to one logo, and a lottery will be held to determine selected spots if more than 18 nonprofits apply.

Councilman Miller suggested having a third sign board constructed on Sequim Avenue’s entrance to town if the level of interest is high enough.

Each sign would cost a one-time fee of $50 for each logo, and nonprofits have 30 days to apply to Kuznek-Reese by calling 360-683-4139.

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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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