Royer’s turn to be interviewed for county exec’s post
By Kery Murakami
Former Seattle Mayor Charles Royer was just interviewed by King County Council members to become the county’s interim executive.
Royer highlighted his experience as a “political leader who has run a large and complex government.” He portrayed himself as more than just a manager, but someone who’d do a better job explaining to the public what county government does and “why we’re making the hard choices.”
Later he said his approach to the budget crisis would go beyond putting on “green eyehades.” He said the budget is a political document.
Many of the questions focused on his ability to come in and run the government.
Royer told council members: “I would rely heavily on you. I see a new era of transparency and openness.”
He said, “I know how to enter an organization and be effective in a short period of time.”
He also was asked by Councilwoman Jane Hague about declaring an emergency to avoid immediately paying back county employees for the 10-day furlough they took last year. According to the county’s labor agreement, the employees are supposed to be compensated for the furlough with five additional days of vacation this year and another five next year without the declaration of an emergency.
Royer said, “I’m not completely familiar with the specifics of the commitment, but a commitment is a commitment.” He said, though, that he’d worked with 30 labor unions as mayor, and there are ways to work through issues.
Playing off one of Kurt Triplett’s points during his interview, Councilman Larry Gossett asked what Royer would do if Triplett (former County Executive Ron Sims’ chief of staff) and other key county officials were to leave the government.
It caught Royer off guard. He said, “I haven’t really thought of that. I haven’t seen any reason why they would leave. … It’s a pretty tough economy for people to give up their jobs.”
Royer also said he hadn’t had a chance yet to sit down with them and make his case.
Royer and Triplett were the top two choices of a blue-ribbon commission that sorted through applicants for the post.
County Council members are now moving on to interview two other candidates, former council members Louise Miller and Steve Hammond.
The council is supposed to make its appointment Monday afternoon.