Message from the City Manager
I’m incredibly proud of the City of Burien staff, as well as our fire and police partners who have demonstrated under challenging conditions a commitment to public service and making a difference for the Burien community. Even though we have one of the smallest number of staff for a city of our size in the region, our employees have displayed ingenuity, flexibility, and diligence in adapting to a “new normal.”
Within just a few short weeks, City staff drastically changed how essential operations, programs, and services were provided. We moved most of our workforce to a teleworking environment and ensured that those staff who remain in the field or buildings have the necessary protective equipment. I want to thank our information services and technology staff, as well as our human resources staff, who had to quickly purchase equipment and rapidly develop personnel policies so that our staff could have the support they needed to take care of themselves and their families.
Every department is changing how business is conducted. Our city clerk department led efforts to convert public council meetings to online meetings. Their efforts were early on acknowledged by our peer cities, who emulated our approach. The community development staff developed a new way to accept permits, despite not having an online permitting system, which is slated to launch next year. Our finance staff navigated federal, state, and local requirements in order to secure funding for essential services as well relief funds for our local community.
Our economic development and human services staff worked tirelessly to help our local community and local businesses survive shutdown. Our public works and parks maintenance staff maintained our streets, parks, and infrastructure and our recreation staff provided essential outreach, virtual programming, and altered summer camps for our residents. Communications worked to keep our staff, elected officials, and community informed, and supported the staff who worked diligently to connect community members to the resources they needed.
I also want to recognize the significant community effort that has occurred since the very beginning of the pandemic. Your local government cannot support our community without the collaboration of both formal partners, such as Discover Burien, Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, and our human services partners, as well as the many grassroots organizations and community leaders that are working every day to help their neighbors weather this storm.
As we move into the 2021-22 budget season, we will be examining all our programs and services. We expect to have significantly lower revenue in the coming months as a result of the pandemic. However, the community needs have never been greater. We will be presenting a budget that reflects our current financial reality and the priorities of the Council. We want to hear from you during this process (burienwa.gov/budget).
Our Commitment to Racial Equity and Social Justice
The Black Lives Matter protests have brought to the surface a long overdue conversation about equity and systemic racism. I have directed our staff to form an internal task force dedicated to developing and implementing a racial equity and social justice strategy for city services. This work will eventually involve our community members as key partners. We recognize that we, like local governments across the region and country, have an obligation to explicitly address the issue of systemic racism.
Your feedback is valued and appreciated. Please let me know your thoughts and how the City can better serve you.
Brian J. Wilson, City Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.