05/02/2012: "Pete Rose Resigns"
(Pete Rose at his desk -SJC photo)
Administrator Pete Rose resigned his position Tuesday (05-01-12) morning, effective June 8, to become city administrator of LFP (Lake Forest Park) in King County. Rose was one of six finalists for the position of City Administrator in early April, following a nationwide recruitment process by LFPark. On April 30th Mayor Mary Jane Goss announced Donald D. "Pete" Rose as their new City Administrator.
Council Chair Patty Miller the Council would begin the process of seeking a successor immediately, but the timing may not be good, since the makeup of the Council could change if the upcoming recommendations by the Charter Review Committee are approved by the voters. Related Story
There has been unhappiness on both sides, with some members of the council critical of Rose's management style and actions, and Rose has on occasion felt the need to remind the Council that his role is management, and their role was setting policy; and there have been heated exchanges in particular between Rose and council member Howard Rosenfeld.
Rose had earlier applied for work elsewhere, so it was clear he was not as content here as he could be.
The Council held a number of executive sessions this Tuesday morning, and Rose is reported to have said: “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. I hope that I have left this organization a better place.”
Pete has been a great asset to this County and we all wish him great success in his new position,” said County Council Chair Patty Miller.
Rose was the first permanent County Administrator under the new home rule charter that was passed in November of 2005.
Under the charter the County Government went from a three-person commission to a government with a professional administrator and a 6-member policy making council. The council has seemed to have some difficulty giving up the administration end and dealing only with policy.
One of his earliest initiatives was equipping a County Council hearing room as a “smart room” which has enabled the Council to stream its meetings live on the Internet, and conduct meetings by video conference. “That, he said, “has made it possible for many more people to attend our council meetings than in counties many times our size.”
Rose has worked through difficult economic times for the County. In order to keep the County’s budget in balance, he initiated cuts which reduced its workforce by 15% between 2007 and 2011. He credits the financial sacrifices made by all 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.
Soon after arriving, 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 presents 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 cites his pride with improvements in transparency through providing information on the county’s website. During his administration, thousands of public documents have been made accessible in searchable online archives, and 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 the Administrator admits that he’s hardly ready to take a victory lap. “This County government continues to face tough challenges. Perhaps the toughest being the need to find sources of revenue that will fund the essential functions of its government at a sustainable level.”