Yesterday, Mayor Durkan announced three department head appointments: two permanent, and one interim.
First, she announced the nomination of Saad Bashir as the city’s new CTO and head of the Seattle IT department. Seattle IT has 680 employees and an annual budget of $277 million.
Bashir has been serving as CIO for the City of Ottawa for the last two and a half years; prior to that, he was the city’s Director of Economic Development. He holds a bachelors’ degree in computer engineering from Queen’s University.
Second, Durkan reappointed Robert Nellams as Director of the Seattle Center. Nellams has been Director since 2006; last January he announced his retirement, but three months later he and Durkan agreed that he would stay on. Nellams has played a central role in the revitalization of the Seattle Center, including in the deal with OVG to renovate Key Arena and bring an NHL franchise to the city.
Both the nominations of Bashir and Nellams require City Council confirmation. Bashir’s will go through Council President Harrell’s committee, and Nellams’ will be heard by Council member Juarez’s.
Third, Durkan announced that she is appointing Bobby Humes as Interim Director of the Seattle HR Department, replacing Interim Director Sue McNab. Humes has been the Director of Human Resources at the city’s Parks and Recreation Department since May 2018.
Almost exactly one year ago, Crosscut ran a two-part series of articles detailing the toxic culture within the HR department and the wide range of frustrations shared by city employees, exacerbated by the forced consolidation of departmental HR teams into one central department under former Mayor Ed Murray. Crosscut’s reporting forced Durkan to announce a broad review of the city’s HR organization and practices, followed by an announcement last September of the creation of a new independent Office of the Employee Ombud, and a new investigations unit within the HR department. Needless to day, it’s no surprise that it’s taking a while for the Mayor to hire a permanent director for that department.