Bothell’s city management staff will welcome their new assistant city manager on Dec. 28, as she helps relieve pressure from numerous city projects and new City Council member inductions.
The city manager’s office has been short staffed since last May, when the previous deputy city manager, Peter Troedsson, departed for a position in Albany, Ore. Currently, Erin Leonhart is the interim deputy city manager, but also splits her time working in the public works department, so city manager Jennifer Phillips said she’s happy to have someone finally fill the full-time position.
The deputy city manager position will be reclassified as assistant city manager after Victoria “Tori” Brazitis, joins the team later this month.
“There’s a tremendous amount of work in this organization,” Phillips said. “I’m really excited to have a full-time assistant city manager who’s going to help us move some of these initiatives and projects forward.”
Brazitis will be Phillips’ right hand, assisting with most city manager tasks and standing in for Phillips at council meetings when needed. Additionally, Brazitis will lead her own projects, create an economic development program, oversee emergency preparedness and Bothell’s communications and tourism programs.
“I have this beautiful stack of things all ready (for Brazitis),” said Phillips with a laugh. “I told her (the) stack is growing.”
Currently, the city manager’s office is also working on a number of city ordinances and will help introduce the three new Bothell City Council members to their new positions and all the current city projects in January.
“I think public works has done a nice job of carrying the ball on a some of those (projects) recently,” Brazitis said. “I’m really excited to join the team.”
THE SEARCH ENDS
Phillips and the city manager team interviewed many qualified candidates after a national search.
“I really like the team to make the selection with me so that we know right away that this is someone who’s going to integrate really well with our team,” Phillips said.
Brazitis said she was impressed by the staff’s professionalism and how much Phillips valued her staff’s opinions. The team interview process is rare among similar jobs, according to Brazitis.
“There’s a paragraph when it talks about the position, that I’ve never seen anywhere else, that says, ‘This is collaboratively developed with the executive leadership team and key staff,’” Brazitis said about the job description. “The rest of it you get by on your qualifications, your accomplishments and things you’ve done on your resume. The piece where a team interviews you and thinks you’d be a fit for them, that was a real honor. I loved the way she did it.”
Brazitis has six years of experience in public affairs and five years of direct experience in local government management. She’s worked at the assistant city manager level in Lone Tree, Colorado, Lakewood, Washington and has worked as Gov. Jay Inslee’s press secretary during his time as a U.S. representative.
“I love the field,” Brazitis said. “This is the best work in the world and I was so impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the staff I met in Bothell.”
This and her passion for local government and Bothell helped Brazitis stand out among other candidates, Phillips said.
“City management isn’t for everybody. It’s a very unique field,” she said. “I really felt she had the experience and exposure at the level that an assistant city manager needs.”
Brazitis beat out a number of qualified candidates, who all had a particular interest in Bothell. Phillips said she was happy to see the competition.
“When it got down to it, there were some really qualified candidates,” she said. “It was really great to see the interest from folks wanting to come to Bothell.”
SHE’S DONE HER HOMEWORK
According to Phillips, Brazitis was a top contender throughout the hiring process.
Brazitis said she had her “fingers crossed the whole time,” hoping that she’d get the job.
“She has really done her homework,” Phillips said. “I’m delighted that it was the right time for Tori and that she applied and came out as the top candidate.”
Brazitis will primarily focus on learning about the new position during the first week, despite her experience.
“I’ve been doing this work for awhile, but every community and organization is different,” she said.
Brazitis is originally from Washington and moved from Lakewood to Bothell last week with her husband Ben and 18-month-old daughter, Vera.
“We (were) looking for somewhere we can set down some roots and really stay for a long time,” Brazitis said. “I love the feeling of community. People are proud of being in Bothell and part of Bothell, which is wonderful.”
Brazitis said her family will particularly enjoy the outdoor opportunities around Bothell.
“I think the location is perfect, you’re close to a lot of stuff but it’s a little bit removed,” she said. “I’m just really excited, for me it was a whole family decision too. When you relocate and picking a team for the long run, you do it carefully and Bothell was exactly what I was hoping for.