Turnover within Snohomish City Hall for city administrator
|Mayor Linda Redmon
SNOHOMISH — Mayor Linda Redmon is replacing the city’s top manager.
City administrator Steve Schuller will be making way later this month for Heather Thomas, who today is a senior director at the Snohomish Health District as its Public and Government Affairs Manager.
Redmon privately offered the job to Thomas. Schuller exits March 18.
The mayor said the change will better serve Snohomish.
“My priorities for how City Hall serves Snohomish are communication and customer service, and I believe Ms. Thomas’ background will be of great value in the work ahead,” Redmon said in a statement sent to the Tribune.
A city administrator works under the direction of the mayor to conduct day-to-day operations at City Hall and implement a city’s long-term plans. The position is appointed by the mayor, subject to confirmation by the City Council.
Thomas has 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors, including five years at the City of Kent.
Schuller learned late last week he is being discharged. In reflection, he said he’s proud of the work he’s done.
“Overall the city — and it’s a beautiful, historic city — it had major problems in critical areas. What I’m most proud of is putting the city back on the right track,” Schuller said in an interview.
Thomas, a Snohomish High alumna, described working for the city as coming back full circle.
“The opportunity to work for a mayor that I admire and respect, while working with a dedicated workforce and serving a community dear to my heart is a full circle moment for me and my family,” Thomas said in a statement. “It has been a true honor to work for the Snohomish Health District for over seven years. Learning from, watching and working with this team of public health professionals has been transformational and inspiring. I am grateful to have their support during this transition.”
Thomas holds master’s degrees in public administration and communications.
At a budget workshop March 1, the City Council discussed re-establishing the public works director position for an estimated $200,000 a year, plus three other positions.
Schuller said he proposed re-establishing the public works director position to help attend to the city’s many public works projects.
The council also reopened discussing the salaries of the mayor and council at this meeting which happened after press time.
Schuller rose through the ranks after joining the city in summer 2008 as the city engineer. He became public works director when Tim Heydon retired, and was closely involved in correcting serious effluent compliance violation issues in the
city wastewater treatment plant in the late 2000s.
In 2015, longtime city manager Larry Bauman named Schuller joint public works director and deputy city manager, a role which gave added responsibilities.
When the city changed to a strong mayor form of government in 2017, Bauman’s manager’s contract was terminated and Mayor John Kartak appointed Schuller against three other finalist candidates after publicly advertising the position. More recently, Schuller guided the work to help fund the Carnegie Building’s full restoration.
Schuller noted that water and sewer bill rates went down during his tenure, and that he worked with the Tulalip Tribes to close the Pilchuck River dam.
In a weak mayor city, which has no elected mayor, the City Council appoints a city manager for overseeing City Hall and producing the budget.
Schuller gave thanks for the outpouring of support he got after news broke late last week.
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