Although 54 people applied for the job, the city of Liberty Lake didn’t have to look far for its new city administrator.
Katy Allen, 57, has been living in Liberty Lake since 1983, well before it became an incorporated city.
“I think she’s going to be a terrific asset,” said Mayor Steve Peterson.
Allen has a long history of public service. She is currently the director of public works and utilities in Bremerton. Before that, she was the city engineer for public works in San Jose, Calif., and spent 25 years as a city engineer in Spokane.
While she was in San Jose, she commuted from Liberty Lake.
“It’s a challenge,” she said, but technology and transportation has improved over the years to make it easier for her.
As for her new job, Allen said she is excited to work closer to home.
“Liberty Lake gives me the opportunity to work and live in the same community,” she said.
She said now that the city is 10 years old, they are now making a transition from being a new community and setting policy to that of a mature city with quality services.
She hopes to take a look at the whole budget process and map out strategies for the future. She knows the city has a desire to invest in capital improvements, especially a community center. She also wants to build on the relationships between the community, the City Council and the mayor.
Liberty Lake has not had a city administrator since 2006. Community Development Director Doug Smith took on those duties and at the end of 2011, the city hired an interim city administrator, Mike Cecka. Cecka did not apply for the permanent position.
The city also had an initiative on last fall’s ballot to move from a strong-mayor form of government to a city administrator-led government. Voters overwhelmingly rejected that idea, with 69.5 percent of voters voting against it.
But the need for a city administrator was important enough for the council to earmark $160,000 in its 2012 budget to hire one. Peterson said Allen will make $120,000 a year in her new position; a salary he feels is competitive.
Peterson said Cecka will help with the transition until Allen comes aboard around June 1.
“We’re focused on delivering services and benefits to the community that exceed expectations,” he said.