Klahanie, community center figure big into city manager’s year

August 28, 2014

By Ari Cetron

New: Aug. 28, 1:16 p.m.

Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici received a glowing review from the City Council for his work in the past year.
The review, dated July 1, gives a look at not only what the council thinks of Yazici’s job performance in the past year, but what it expects the city to accomplish in the year ahead.
Under Sammamish’s form of government, the city manager is the head of the city’s executive branch. He does not stand for election, but serves at the pleasure of the council. In reviewing his work over the past year, the council determined that he met or exceeded expectations in every area.
The review itself takes place behind closed doors, but the documentation is part of the public record. The document doesn’t give details beyond whether or not Yazici is meeting or exceeding expectations.
“The council has reviewed your performance for the year ending June 30, 2014, and we find your performance, considering the above appraisal outstanding, exceeding expectations,” the review stated.
Yazici did not receive a pay increase this year.
The Klahanie annexation and new community center project dominate the city’s goals for the coming year.
The council expects Yazici to continue to work toward annexing Klananie, calling for a transition committee to keep the effort transparent. It expects him to make necessary staffing and budgetary adjustments to make the annexation run smoothly. It also spells out details of managing the annexation, such as preparing a plan to police the area, and adding Klahanie’s roads to the city’s overall transportation plan.
The review also calls for Yazici to continue to work on building and opening the community center, and keep an eye out for potential cost increases on the project.
Besides overall goals, such as being environmentally conscious and fiscally responsible, the review is divided into sections which generally mirror city departments.

Parks
The community center may be the big dog in the parks department, but smaller projects are also mentioned in the review. The council wants Yazici to begin an exploration of what to do with the YMCA-owned property near Pine Lake Middle School, talk to the Issaquah and Lake Washington school districts about adding athletic fields, and look for places for a possible new dog park and a new community garden.
The council expects Yazici to complete projects that it has authorized, such as a pedestrian trail from the Sahalee overlook to Evans Creek Preserve, and beginning to develop Big Rock Park.
The council also wants him to look for ways to increase trail connections, find new open space and find more community meeting space. And it wants him to explore ways to allow the teen center to be usable to a larger portion of the community.

Public safety
Yazici is supposed to work with the police chief to find ways to minimize the impact of legalized marijuana on the city, along with illegal drugs. He’s also supposed to continue working with Eastside Fire & Rescue, and look for ways to enhance emergency preparedness. The council would also like the city to begin a Police Explorer program, if possible. The program gives teens a chance to find out about the ins and outs of police work while serving the community.

Community
development
The council wants Yazici to make sure the city’s Comprehensive Plan stays on track for its completion date, expected next year. It wants an economic development plan in place next year, with guidance from the council. It also wants him to find ways to make the city’s tree retention ordinance more effective.

Public works
The council expects Yazici to do what is needed to complete stormwater work, including finding ways to improve culverts under the East Lake Sammamish Parkway. It also wants him to keep the city on top of expected new stormwater regulations, and determine how they might impact the planned Town Center project.

Administrative
The council wants Yazici to look into developing a citizens academy. Other cities have similar programs, where residents have the opportunity to find out how the city government works, and how city programs dovetail with those at the county, state and federal levels.
The council also wants him to develop a strategy to coordinate human services programs across the city.

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