News

New Public Works director hired

Sequim City Manager Steve Burkett believes hiring Paul Haines of Holden Village, near Chelan, as Sequim’s new Public Works director, will boost the culture and morale at the department.

Haines has more than 30 years of experience as a professional engineer. He has served as public works director or city engineer in Washington, Oregon, California and Colorado.

He was one of 40 applicants recruited by Prothman, an executive recruiting agency. Burkett narrowed that selection to four people and finally to Haines.

“He’s an excellent leader and has high technical qualifications,” Burkett said.

“The important thing is he builds relationships with staff, city council and community people.”
Burkett and Haines worked together in Shoreline from 2002-2006 in the same positions they hold now in Sequim.

“We are both aware of our respective strengths and weaknesses and share a common approach to leadership and management,” Burkett said. 

Duties
Haines will be in charge of Sequim’s water supply and distribution, wastewater, landscaping, street maintenance, parks construction and maintenance, and building and vehicle maintenance.
Burkett said Haines’ upcoming projects would include:
• Assessment of public works as a whole
• City Hall
• Connectivity around city
• Sewer treatment plant upgrade
• Street improvement projects
• Storm drainage

Haines begins work April 19 following an obligation to finish projects in Holden Village, a Lutheran village open to people for personal and spiritual growth.

Good terms
Leaving his position in Shoreline was on good terms, Haines said.

He and his wife, Karen, left to work at Holden Village, which they believe was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They had been volunteering there since the 1990s and two positions opened up in their areas of expertise, public works manager and business manager.

“Holden was a completely different environment than what I was doing. It was a refreshing change,” Haines said.

His three-year contract came to an end in December but he has been looking for another job in the Puget Sound area since August 2009.

“Most of the places I’ve been have been preparing for or were in significant change,” Haines said.

“That’s what keeps me energized — is preparing for change and growth.”

Sustainability
Sticking around isn’t a concern for Burkett or Haines.

“I feel very confident,” Burkett said.

“We’ve had a series of interim people, so it was important to get someone who is a good fit.”

Haines will be taking over from Jim Pemberton, interim public works director.
“Jim (Pemberton) has done a great job,’ Burkett said.

“I approached him about taking the job, but he wanted summers off.”

Pemberton took over in December 2009 after Ben Rankin quit after six months of employment.
“I never come to the place with the intention to leave it,” Haines said.

“I’m coming to work for the city and a city manager that I know I can work with.”

Comfortable wait
Burkett believes the city can wait another month until Haines begins.

Pemberton will overlap Haines’ start so he can ease him into the position, Burkett said.

“I feel fortunate to have someone with Paul’s experience and talent to lead the department and help us achieve the city council’s vision for our community,” Burkett said.

“I’m confident that Paul is the right person to help me rebuild the public works team and create the kind of work environment that leads to employee satisfaction, quality services and customer satisfaction.”

After spending a weekend here, Haines said he found the people friendly and believes Sequim has a distinct identity.

“There are a lot more people who call Sequim home who aren’t in city limits,” he said.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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