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Lakewood city manager content to stay put for now

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on Dec. 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm with No Comments »
December 21, 2011 4:49 pm
Lakewood City Manager Andrew Neiditz

Falling just shy of becoming Tacoma’s next city manager, Lakewood City Manager Andrew Neiditz isn’t looking back.

Neiditz, 58, finished second as the Tacoma City Council voted Tuesday night to hire T.C. Broadnax, an assistant city manager in San Antonio.

While a bit disappointed in the outcome, Neiditz said he was in a “good frame of mind” and wished Broadnax well in his new job.

“I have a full plate in Lakewood with a lot of major challenges. I’m fully engaged here. My candidacy there was never intended to diminish that.”

Three Tacoma city council members supported Neiditz compared to five for Broadnax; one council member backed interim city manager Ray Arellano.

Supporters noted Neiditz’s deep connections to and impressive knowledge of the area.

“He can hit the ground running,” Councilman Spiro Manthou said.

Ultimately, however, the majority was taken by Broadnax’s management and fiscal experience in a city with a population six times larger than Tacoma’s.

Neiditz, who had lived in Tacoma for 20 years and manages the daily operations of its largest municipal neighbor, called the opening there a “unique opportunity.”

He is not seeking another job currently. But he didn’t rule out departing Lakewood at some point, saying the average tenure of a city manager is five to six years. He said he must make an assessment each year of his support on the city council, which has the authority to terminate his at-will employment at any time with a majority vote.

“I don’t want to say I’ll be here forever,” he said. “I am fully engaged and fully content doing what I’m doing now, and I believe I have the full support of the council.”

(You can read the full story tomorrow in print or online)

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