Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By David Pan 

Finance director candidate James withdraws

City will be seeking an interim hire


Last updated 4/6/2022 at 10:57am

Scott James

The City of Mukilteo is looking for a new finance director.

Current City of Snohomish Finance Director Scott James, who Mayor Joe Marine wanted to appoint as Mukilteo's finance director, has withdrawn his name from consideration for the position.

James informed Marine of his decision on March 22, a day after he spoke at a City Council meeting in which he faced sharp questioning from Council President Steve Schmalz.

Marine said James withdrew his name for two reasons.

"The first one was because he expected to be confirmed that night," Marine said. "The council pushed it off. He was supposed to start April 1."

James had to let Snohomish know if he was leaving or staying, and the City could not wait until April 4, the date the Mukilteo City Council was scheduled to vote on his possible appointment.

"If he told Snohomish he was leaving that night (March 22), and it didn't go well, he would be without a job," Marine said.

The other reason he withdraw, Marine said, had to do with the questioning he faced from Schmalz.

"It's one thing to ask people questions," Marine said. "To me that seemed like an interrogation ... He (James) didn't feel comfortable.

"He didn't need to leave Snohomish. I was trying to convince him to come here."

James declined to comment on the specifics of his decision to withdraw his name.

"I'm just happy with my position with the City of Snohomish, and I'm just going to stay here," James said.

Schmalz said he asked questions based on James' prior time with the City.

"I asked him about the records. It was perfectly legitimate," Schmalz said. "... I looked at past budgets. It was appropriate to ask about past budgets."

Marine said he plans to hire an interim finance director, and that the City will be advertising for the permanent position.

"We will go out looking," he said. "Unfortunately for Mukilteo, we could have gotten, I think, one of the best finance directors in the region."

Marine said he does not expect James will be a candidate for the position once it is formally advertised. James previously served as Mukilteo's finance director under Marine. James also worked briefly for the City of Stanwood.

Marine credited James with helping the City achieve a Triple-A bond rating and establishing a long-range financial planning committee.

With the resignation of former Finance Director Shawn Hunstock, Marine was requesting the council waive the standard recruitment process to fill a department director position and allow a direct appointment.

At its March 22 meeting, the council decided on a 3-2 vote, with one abstention, to postpone the vote on Marine's proposed appointment of James to be the City's new finance director until April 4.


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