News

Public works director resigning Dec. 2

by BRIAN GAWLEY
Sequim Gazette

Sequim Public Works director Ben Rankin resigned effective Dec. 2, telling City Manager Steve Burkett that after three months the job wasn’t what he expected.

An interim director could be appointed by Friday, Burkett said.

“I am disappointed Ben concluded our position is not a good match for him. I do respect his difficult decision to resign and return to his home in Clemson, South Carolina,” he said.

Burkett interviewed a candidate who is a longtime public works director in Washington on Friday and has a couple more interviews set up this week.

“Hopefully I can appoint someone by the end of the week and get him started.

“It’s important that he get started right away because we went one and a half years without a leader in public works and then the new one only lasted three months,” he said.

Burkett is responsible for hiring department heads while the city council hires the city manager.

Rankin, 49, received his civil engineering degree from Clemson University in 1982. He was city engineer for the city of Clemson for the past 10 years.

He took the public works position in May that was filled temporarily by city engineer Bill Bullock after 20-year city employee Jim Bay retired in April 2008. Bullock resigned in May 2009.

Burkett said he would take some time to evaluate the public works and planning director positions.

He might consider creating a community development director position that would combine both jobs.

He also wants someone who’s worked in Washington state and is familiar with its ecology and transportation departments because of the city’s water reuse plant and transportation benefit district, Burkett said.

Rankin couldn’t be reached for comment but Burkett said the South Carolina native told him the job was different than what he anticipated.

Rankin was hired by interim city manager Linda Herzog before Burkett was hired by the city council.

“There’s a big difference between Clemson and Sequim. There also were some changes such as eliminating the city engineer position,” Burkett said.

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.
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