Council OK’s new city admin

Ron Williams began as city administrator on June 2

Staff writerJune 4, 2014 

The Gig Harbor City Council approved the employment contract for Ron Williams, who will begin as city administrator on June 2.

Because the city has a strong mayor form of government, the council’s role is limited to approving the contract.

Longtime Council member Steve Ekberg said that he had a few reservations with the hire, but is trusting Mayor Jill Guernsey’s judgement.

“I think Mr. Williams’ resume, overall, is somewhat lacking in economic development and city administration,” Ekberg said. He added that after meeting Williams, he thinks he will be a good fit for the city.

Guernsey has been giving full-throated support for Williams’ hire. He is a coworker and friend of hers for more than 30 years, she said.

Williams was on the first-ever University Place city council, and later served as mayor. He is a retired attorney from the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.

Under the municipal code, the mayor appoints the position and the council approves, or disapproves, the contract.

Council member Tim Payne said while some of Williams’ credentials may seem indirectly related to economic development and administration, there are skills he has that will benefit the city.

Still, Payne feels that the transition to the job midyear will be something the city will have to weather.

“I think it’s going to be a little bit rough and I’ve already expressed my displeasure with the process,” he said. “(But) I think we do need to stand behind the mayor at this time.”

The shuffle began earlier in the year, when Guernsey proposed adding an economic development position to city staff. The position was not met with fanfare in the city.

Later, the economic development position was reworked as a function of the city administrator’s job. Guernsey announced she would not renew the contract of then-administrator Denny Richards.

Richards was originally expected to stay through the end of the year to help with the changing of hands, but instead resigned on May 23.

At the meeting, the council also heard about a project dealing with 3-D models of the city created by the Gig Harbor Model Project.

Planning commissioner Rick Gagliano, a chair of the project, presented a topographical model of part of the city.

The model is made possible with 3-D printing, a new technology that creates plastic structures based on pre-loaded patterns.

The model is created by students, many of whom attended the council meeting.

The next meeting for the council is June 9. On the agenda is a hearing on a six-month moratorium on retail marijuana sales that has already gone into effect.

Karen Miller: 253-358-4155 Twitter: @gateway_karen

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