Sequim city manager receives positive council review

Sequim City Manager Matt Huish received another favorable annual review from city councilors.

On March 11, city councilors met in executive session with representatives from consulting firm Kenbrio’s David Mercier to review Huish’s performance for a second time.

In Mercier’s conclusion to councilors, he wrote that they “indicated their appreciation of (Huish’s) hard work and long hours, as well as his professionalism.”

He wrote that they request Huish “improve communications with the Council by soliciting their directives prior to meeting with other governments — such as crafting the legislative agenda.”

Mercier added that they “requested earlier communications with (them) regarding evolving issues before they come to their attention at Council meetings — such as with garbage rate increases.”

Mayor Brandon Janisse confirmed in a phone interview the positive review of Huish and that councilors just seek information on issues sooner so they can answer constituents quickly and efficiently. He said the garbage rate increase was not Huish’s fault.

Last May, city councilors unanimously agreed to give Huish a 5% raise, or $9,000 more a year, on top of his $180,000 salary following his positive review. It was his first council review since starting with the City of Sequim in November 2021.

His contract was also amended to coincide and not exceed salary increases for non-represented staff following his review. This year, non-represented staff received a 4% salary increase effective Jan. 1. City staff said he will receive a financial reconcilation, or lump sum, from Jan. 1 to the review date. His new annual salary will be $196,560.

Huish’s contract also states he will not be reviewed later than the end of May each year, and his evaluation will be facilitated by a third party consultant.

According to the contract, Huish has no fixed term of service in Sequim, but he and the city council hoped for the term to be at least five years.

If terminated for any reason other than cause, the contract states Huish will receive 12 months salary and health benefits. If he is terminated with cause, the city will only be obligated to pay for accrued compensation and benefits.

(Just cause is defined in the contract; for example, for willfully neglecting job duties, being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor of any crime, and/or dishonesty in the performance of his job duties.)

Prior to Sequim, Huish worked as chief administrative officer for Sandy, Utah, where he oversaw 10 department directors, 600 full-time benefited staff and 300 seasonal part-time employees under an approximate $115 million annual budget.

In Sequim, he oversees 90-plus staff, and an approximate $47.1 million 2024 budget.

He succeeded Charisse Deschenes, the now-outgoing deputy city manager/director of community and economic development, who served as interim city manager from Jan. 2021-Oct. 2021. She took on the interim role after former city manager Charlie Bush was fired for reasons not made public.

Huish said at the April 8 city council meeting, he and staff are working on a “State of the City” presentation.