Before becoming Lakewood’s city manager six years ago, Andrew Neiditz lived in Tacoma for 20 years. His two children graduated from Wilson High School. His wife, Marie, had taught at two Tacoma elementary schools.
That connection to Pierce County’s largest city is a major reason Neiditz applied to become Tacoma’s next city manager. The Tacoma City Council named Neiditz one of five finalists for the job Tuesday night.
“The more I thought about the challenges in Tacoma and the regional work I’ve done and what I have to offer, I felt it was a meaningful challenge for me to pursue,” Neiditz said Wednesday.
Neiditz reiterated that he will remain fully engaged in his responsibilities to Lakewood during the intensive interview process that begins next week. The Tacoma City Council is scheduled to make a hiring decision Dec. 13.
Neiditz said he thought about applying when he learned the Tacoma City Council had terminated the employment of former city manager Eric Anderson in July. Neiditz said he was later contacted by recruiting firm hired by the city.
Neiditz broached his interest in the job to the Lakewood City Council during an Oct. 17 executive, or closed-door, session to discuss his job performance. Their response was favorable, he said. Neiditz periodically checks in with the council to get its measure of how he’s doing. The council gave Neiditz high marks during his formal performance evaluation earlier this year.
Neiditz said he didn’t formally notify the council he had applied for the job. He submitted his application Oct. 20, the day before the application deadline.
Mayor Doug Richardson said Wednesday that Neiditz was a logical selection because of his history in the area and his active role on regional issues, including the pending overhaul of Pierce County’s 9-1-1 system and efforts to address the impacts of rapid military-related growth in the South Sound.
“We think Andrew’s doing a fantastic job,” the mayor said. “We will miss him dearly should he take the job in Tacoma. Being a professional city manager, I can understand why he’d be attracted to the position” leading a full-service city with more than three times the population of Lakewood.
Tacoma runs its own fire department, for instance, while Lakewood contracts with West Pierce Fire & Rescue for firefighting and emergency medical response.
Neiditz became Lakewood’s city manager on March 7, 2005. He previously worked as Sumner’s city administrator since 1999. He worked in Pierce County government for 12 years, serving as deputy county executive from 1985 to 1993.
Neiditz’s employment contract requires he give 30 days of notice before resigning his position. As a result, two new city council members, Marie Barth and Paul Bocchi, who will start their term in January, would be involved in the selection of a new city manager if Neiditz left Lakewood’s employment.
Richardson said the council hasn’t had any discussions related to the potential search for his successor.
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