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The original item was published from 8/27/2021 1:08:26 PM to 9/11/2021 12:00:05 AM.

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City of Sequim News & Alerts

Posted on: August 27, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Sequim City Council to Interview Five Candidates for City Manager

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At their August 26, special meeting the Sequim City Council voted to interview a slate of five candidates for the open City Manager position.

The interviews will take place on Thursday, September 9 and Friday, September 10.  The schedule is still being finalized.

The candidates to be interviewed are:

    Patrick Comiskey:  Mr. Comiskey has been the City Manager for Cambridge, MD (population 12,375) since 2018. Before that he was the City Manager for Thomaston, GA (population 8,962) for fourteen years and the City Manager in Wellsburg, WV (population 2,810) for four years. Mr. Comiskey enjoys bringing people together to work on a problem and then stepping back and allowing the group to work out solutions.  Management by objectives is his preferred framework.  Visiting job sites and workstations is commonplace for him. Mr. Comiskey’s greatest achievement thus far is the development of the Lake Thomaston Reservoir in Georgia. This was a multi-million-dollar project that required the acquisition of land, setting up a public bond issue, working with engineers, biologists, state regulatory agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers, neighboring property owners, the state’s electric utility, the railroad, and two different general contractors.  This multi-year project that resulted in the city having a half a billion-gallon reservoir that insulated the city from late summer droughts. Mr. Comiskey has 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.  He is a Certified Purchasing Manager.

    Charisse Deschenes:  Ms. Deschenes has been with Sequim, WA (population 7,248) since 2014, and is currently serving at the interim City Manager. Her prior roles with Sequim include serving as a Senior Planner, Assistant to the City Manager, and Assistant City Manager.  Prior to working at Sequim, she was a consultant for one year and worked in the planning department of Olathe, KS (population 128,050) for ten years with the last two as a Senior Planner. Ms. Deschenes management style with the current team is to provide the support they need to put out their best work. One of her greatest achievements was a Service Fest event in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations. The event lasted two weeks and hosted Habitat Caravanners. The Caravanners are skilled volunteers that travel all over to help build houses. They were able to place 16 caravanners in Sequim to work on private property improvements for residents meeting specific income requirements. Through neighborhood meetings, community members indicated what service projects were needed throughout the public space. The City, Habitat and other volunteers worked on the service projects all over the City. Four private property owners received assistance and multiple City projects were completed. Ms. Deschenes was honored to help lead the event. She has a bachelor’s degree in park and resource management from Kansas State University and an executive MBA from Benedictine College.  Additionally, she has completed 86 hours towards a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at Eastern Washington University.

    Jeff Durbin:  Mr. Durbin is currently the Interim Town Manager for Frisco, CO (population 3,116).  Previously, he worked for Fraser, CO (population 1,532) for twenty years, with the last sixteen as the Town Manager.  He earlier served as the Community Development Director for Plainfield, IL (population 13,665) for six years.  Mr. Durbin’s management style is collaborative – he believes in people and relationships.  As leader, he recognizes he must make difficult decisions and is not afraid to make those decisions.  When becoming the Town Manager for Fraser, the Mayor told him that he was inheriting a sinking ship.  The Town was about to experience a 40% reduction in revenues and had no reserves.  He had many difficult decisions to make but did what he had to do and is extremely proud of the strong financial position that the Town of Fraser now enjoys after his tenure.  He considers this his greatest success in Fraser. Mr. Durbin has 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: Mr. Huish has been the Chief Administrative Officer for Sandy, UT (population 96,127) since 2018. Previously, he was the Administrative Director for the University of Utah for fourteen years.  Experience has taught Mr. Huish the value of building strong teams and listening openly to all points of views to obtain the best solution.  His greatest success in Sandy was using change management to create an innovative environment so they could better attain their new value-equation, mission, vision, and foundational values. One aspect was implementing Smart City technology. The result has been improved, more efficient municipal services and increased customer (coworker, citizen, business) service.  At the same time, they have decreased costs. Now Sandy’s operations more closely mirror those of business organizations. Mr. Huish has a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Puget Sound, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Utah. He has also completed some coursework towards a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Chapman University.

    Joe Lessard:  Mr. Lessard is currently self-employed.  Previously he was the Senior Planning Director for Knudson for eleven years, an Assistant City Manager in Austin, TX (population 578,608) for nine years.  He also worked for the City of Dallas, TX (population one million) for four years with the last two as the Assistant to the City Manager.  He meets his leadership responsibility by visibly modeling the values he articulates and desires from the staff and larger organization.  He motivates employees by giving each team member an opportunity to contribute.  The professional achievement that he has the most pride in is the successful planning and establishment of the Balcones Canyonland Conservation Plan (BCCP) for the protection of endangered species in the Central Texas Hill Country. He met the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) requirements and coordinated staff support from the City of Austin, Travis County, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Texas Parks and Wildlife and the USFWS. The work resulted in the issuance of a 10a permit by the USFWS in May of 1996 and is jointly held by Travis County and the City of Austin.  The result is the preservation of at least 30,400 acres of habitat in the western portion of Travis County.  Mr. Lessard has a master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University and bachelor’s degrees in political science and business administration from Washington State University. 

Additional information, including full resumes, can be found on the City website in the Spotlight section of the homepage.

Please contact City Councilmember Keith Larkin at (360) 582-2463 or or Human Resources Manager Emily Stednick at (360) 681-3423 or with questions.

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