UPDATE 2, 4 P.M.: Lakewood City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter will receive a boost in pay during her stint as interim city manager that begins next week.
Outgoing City Manager Andrew Neiditz and Mayor Don Anderson approved giving Wachter a 9.5 percent raise during the time she runs the day-to-day operations of City Hall, city spokesman Jeff Brewster said in response to an inquiry by The News Tribune.
The decision boosts her monthly base salary to $11,583 from $10,482. It’s anticipated she’ll serve in the job for no more than three months.
Brewster said the raise puts Wachter’s temporary salary midway between what she earns as city attorney and what Neiditz earns as city manager. Neiditz earns $13,010 a month in base salary.
UPDATE, 1:30 P.M.: Police Chief Bret Farrar confirmed Tuesday that he is considering applying to become city manager.
Council members said at Monday night’s meeting that he had expressed interest in the permanent job when he was approached about being appointed as interim city manager. Farrar said he responded he might be but he hadn’t made up his mind.
“I like being the chief. I enjoy my job,” he said Tuesday in a phone interview.
At the same time, he continued, “I think I would bring some real fiscal responsibility to the rest of the city like I’ve done with the police department.”
Councilman Michael Brandstetter said during Monday’s meeting he wasn’t inclined to appoint Farrar as interim city manager — Farrar had said he wasn’t interested anyway — because the councilman “wanted to respect (his) desire to have a viable opportunity to compete for the permanent position.”
Farrar was hired when the Lakewood Police Department started in 2004 and was promoted to deputy chief in 2006. He was named police chief two years later with the departure of former police chief Larry Saunders. He has worked in the area for 25 years, starting with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department in 1988.
Farrar’s name came up briefly for new job when the Washington State Patrol troopers union was attempting to lobby Gov. Jay Inslee to replace State Patrol Chief John Batiste. Inslee reappointed Batiste.
The council considered five members of the city’s executive team for appointment as interim city manager. Finance Director Choi Halladay also confirmed he is considering applying.
ORIGINAL POST: The Lakewood City Council on Monday appointed City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter to run Pierce County’s second-largest city on an interim basis until it hires a new city manager.
Wachter, 49, will fill in when City Manager Andrew Neiditz resigns Feb. 23 to become the executive director South Sound 911, Pierce County’s new emergency dispatch agency.
Wachter’s appointment is effective Feb. 19. Neiditz’s last day in office is Friday as he will be travelling out-of-state due to a commitment to the International City/County Management Association, where he serves as regional vice president. (City Hall is closed Monday in observance of Presidents’ Day.)
Neiditz has said it will take between two and three months to hire a new city manager. Last week, the council hired Bellevue-based The Prothman Company to lead the search for the third city manager in Lakewood’s history. The firm is scheduled to make a presentation on next steps at next week’s council meeting.
Wachter has been Lakewood’s city attorney since February 2002. She previously worked as an assistant city attorney in Tacoma and a deputy prosecuting attorney in Snohomish County.
Wachter earned $126,816 in total compensation in 2011 as city attorney and is expected to get a slight bump with the appointment.
Wachter was one of five members of the city’s executive team that the council considered for the appointment. The others were communications director Jeff Brewster; David Bugher, community development director and assistant city manager for development services; Police Chief Bret Farrar; and Choi Halladay, finance director and assistant city manager for administration.
It’s the first time Lakewood has had an interim city manager. Lakewood’s first city manager, Scott Rohlfs, retired and was immediately succeeded by Neiditiz.