Publicola is reporting that Stella Chao, the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods, will be stepping down on January 31st. Chao has been the Director for 4 years. Her announcement comes after conversations with Mayor McGinn, although neither she nor the mayor are saying her resignation is due to performance.
The DON is a vital City department for organizations such as the Wedgwood Community Council. The grants that they issue and oversee are directly responsible for community-driven projects and activities, like the Vision Plan. This follows difficult cuts and decisions at the DON as part of the City’s 2011 budget, which Council-member Tim Burgess described at our November general meeting.
Chao is yet another department director that has stepped down in the past 2 years. Others included the directors for fleets and facilities, housing (and its subsequent interim director), finance, parks, human services, personnel, and sustainability. Kimberlee Archie, the existing Deputy Director, will serve as the interim Director until the mayor announces long-term plans.
The WCC would like to extend our appreciation to Stella Chao for her work with the DON over the past four years. We also welcome Kimberlee Archie as the Deputy Director and look forward to working with her and the DON in the coming months.
Update: The Seattle Times is now reporting Ms. Chao’s exit as well.