Sequim board to meet with five finalists of municipal directors


SEQUIM – Members of Sequim city council have narrowed their search for Sequim’s next city manager to five from a list that includes interim city manager Charisse Deschenes with four out-of-state candidates.

Council members at their special meeting on Thursday voted to interview the five candidates in September. Interviews are scheduled for September 9-10.

The public is invited to a virtual reception via Zoom to meet the candidates for the post of CEO of Sequim at 6 p.m. this Thursday, September 9.

The meeting can be joined at or by calling 1-253-215-8782 and using meeting ID 817 4479 0068.

The reception will include a brief presentation of the candidates followed by breakout rooms where residents can interact with the individual candidates.

For more information on the candidates, see = 1169.

The candidates are (in alphabetical order):

Patrick comiskey, managing director of Cambridge, Maryland, a city of 12,375 people, since 2018.

Prior to that, he was city manager of Thomaston, Ga. (Pop. 8,962) for 14 years and city manager of Wellsburg, W.Va., (pop. 2,810) for four years.

Comiskey said he “likes to bring people together to work on a problem and then take a step back and allow the group to find solutions,” according to a press release.

Comiskey considers its main achievement to date to be the development of the Lake Thomaston reservoir in Georgia.

It was a multi-million dollar project that required acquiring land, setting up a public bond issue, and working with engineers, biologists, regulators from the State, the Army Corps of Engineers, neighboring owners, the state power company, the railroad and two different general contractors, the statement said.

The multi-year project that provided the city with a half-billion-gallon reservoir that isolated the city from late summer droughts.

Comiskey holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Florida, a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Middle Georgia State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from West Virginia University.

Charisse Deschenes, interim city manager for the City of Sequim and city employee since 2014.

Her previous roles at Sequim include senior planner, assistant to the general manager and assistant to the city manager. Prior to working at Sequim, she was a consultant for a year and worked in the planning department of Olathe, Kan., (Population 128,050) for 10 years, the last two as a senior planner.

According to a press release from the city, Deschênes describes his management style with the current team as being “to provide the support they need to do their best.” ”

She said one of her biggest accomplishments was a Service Fest event in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations. The event lasted two weeks and hosted Habitat Caravanners, skilled volunteers who travel all over the place to help build homes. They were able to place 16 RVers in Sequim to work on improvements to private properties for residents meeting specific income requirements. At neighborhood meetings, community members indicated which service projects were needed in the public space. The City, Habitat and other volunteers worked on service projects across the city, the statement noted.

Deschenes received a BA in Parks and Resource Management from Kansas State University and an MBA from Benedictine College. In addition, she completed 86 hours for a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at Eastern Washington University.

Jeff durbin is Acting City Manager for Frisco, Colorado, (pop. 3.116). Prior to that, he worked for Fraser, Colorado, (pop. 1,532) for 20 years, the last 16 years as a general manager. Previously, he was director of community development in Plainfield, Ill. (Pop. 13,665) for six years.

According to the City of Sequim press release, Durbin describes his management style as collaborative – “he believes in people and relationships. “As a leader, he recognizes that he has to make tough decisions and is not afraid to make those decisions.”

Durbin said a success he had seen in Fraser as city manager put the strong financial position through tough decisions as the city faced a 40% cut to its unqualified revenue, the statement noted. from the city.

Durbin holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Michigan State University.

Matt huish has been the Executive Director of Sandy, Utah (population 96,127) since 2018. Previously, he was Executive Director of the University of Utah for 14 years.

“The experience taught Mr. Huish the value of building strong teams and listening openly from all perspectives to get the best solution,” the city press release notes.

Huish said his greatest success at Sandy was “to use change management to create an innovative environment so that they can better achieve their new value equation, mission, vision and core values,” according to the communicated.

“One aspect was the implementation of Smart City technology. The result has been improved and more efficient municipal services and increased customer service (colleague, citizen, business). At the same time, they have reduced costs. Sandy’s operations now more closely mirror those of businesses.

Huish holds a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy from the University of Puget Sound and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Utah. He also took courses for a Masters in Health Care Administration from Chapman University.

Joe lessard is currently self-employed; previously, he was Senior Planning Director for Knudson for 11 years, Deputy City Manager for Austin, Texas (pop. 578,608) for nine years. He also worked for the city of Dallas, Texas (pop. 1 million) for four years, the last two as an assistant to the general manager.

“It fulfills its leadership responsibility by visibly shaping the values ​​it articulates and the desires of the staff and the organization as a whole,” the city press release said. “He motivates employees by giving every team member the opportunity to contribute.

Lessard said the professional achievement he is most proud of is the successful planning and establishment of the Balcones Canyonland Conservation Plan for the protection of endangered species in central Texas Hill Country.

He met the requirements of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and coordinated staff support for the City of Austin, Travis County, the Lower Colorado River Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The result is the preservation of at least 30,400 acres of habitat in the western part of Travis County.

Lessard holds a master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration from Washington State University.


Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is also made up of other newspapers from Sound Publishing, Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach it at [email protected].

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