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King County Executive
Dow Constantine

King County Executive-elect names leadership team


King County Executive-elect Dow Constantine today named six experienced regional leaders to the senior management team that will join him when he officially takes office next week.


King County Executive-elect Dow Constantine today named six experienced regional leaders to the senior management team that will join him when he officially takes office next week.

Constantine is set to be sworn in next Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 4:00 p.m. at Daniels Recital Hall (the former First United Methodist Church) on Fifth and Marion Streets, after the King County Elections Canvassing Board certifies the results from this month’s election earlier that day. The ceremony will be free and open to the public.

“This is a lean and effective team that combines broad local, regional and state-level experience and contacts, as well as innovative ideas from both the public and private sectors,” said Executive-elect Constantine. “They will bring fresh viewpoints to solving the significant challenges King County government faces – challenges that also present opportunities to develop new ways of doing business and delivering improved service to the people of King County.”

Constantine said both new appointments and staff being retained in the Executive’s office will be taking an approximate 10- to 15-percent pay cut from salaries in the previous administration, and that he has reduced the number of positions in the Executive’s office by more than 15-percent.

The Executive’s senior management team will consist of:

Rhonda Berry – Assistant Deputy County Executive
For the past 19 years, Ms. Berry has worked at the City of Tukwila, the past five years as City Administrator with responsibility for eight department directors, 315 full-time employees, and a general operating budget of about $45 million. Prior to her career with Tukwila, she spent nearly 12 years as a systems engineer for the IBM Corporation. In her new role, she will be responsible for county operations, including direct management of nine County departments and 13,700 employees, and will oversee implementation of the Executive’s reform initiatives.

Steve Call – Interim Budget Director
Currently a consultant in private practice, Mr. Call returns to the County Executive’s office as Interim Budget Director after retiring in 2005 from a 31-year career with the County, most recently as Budget Director under Executive Ron Sims. During his tenure with the County his roles included assistant county executive, deputy budget director, and a decade as Director of Emergency Medical Services (Medic One).

Sung Yang – Director of Government and Labor Relations
Sung Yang most recently served as chief of staff for Seattle City Light, where he oversaw government relations, communications policy and coordination of legal affairs. His 12 years of experience in state and local government includes serving as council relations director for Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, legislative aide for Seattle City Councilmember Martha Choe, and deputy director for the Washington State Department of Commerce, Trade and Economic Development. In his new role he will oversee the Executive’s labor relations and relationships with local, state and federal governments.

Carrie S. Cihak – Director of Strategic Initiatives
Ms. Cihak comes to the Executive Office after eight years as a senior-level policy and budget analyst for the Metropolitan King County Council. Her most recent assignment has been as lead staff for the King County Board of Health. Prior to that she worked on a wide range of complex policy issues, including pandemic influenza preparedness plans, cost analysis of the State v. Ridgway (Green River killer) case, and the financial plan for the County’s general fund. She is trained as a Ph.D.-level economist and worked on international trade and finance for President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. In her new role, Ms. Cihak will bring in-depth knowledge of county budgets and policies to develop collaborative solutions to a wide range of complex issues facing the County.

Lorrie McKay – Director of Customer Service
Ms. McKay most recently served as State Relations Manager and Federal Relations Manager for former Executives Ron Sims and Kurt Triplett, with responsibility for compiling King County's State Legislative Agenda and tracking the county's legislative priorities and interests, in coordination with representatives from all executive branch departments and separately elected county agencies. She has served the King County Executive's Office since 1997 in a variety of posts, including a previous stint with the Executive's public outreach and communication division – the precursor to her new role as Director of Customer Service.

Frank Abe – Director of Communications
Mr. Abe has served for seven years as communications director for the Metropolitan King County Council and executive producer of King County TV, cable channel 22. He previously served as communications director for former County Executive Gary Locke, and as a media specialist in the King County Department of Transportation. For 14 years he covered local government and the King County Courthouse as a news reporter for KIRO Newsradio 710, and produced an independent film for PBS. He was a founding member of the Seattle chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Executive-elect Constantine previously announced that state Senator Fred Jarrett, who had served as a co-chair of his transition team, will serve as Deputy County Executive, the highest ranking staff position in the incoming administration. Prior to becoming a state senator, Jarrett served four terms in the state House of Representatives, after stints as Mercer Island Mayor and as a city councilmember. Prior to that, Mr. Jarrett had a 35-year career at The Boeing Company.

All of the appointments to the Executive’s leadership team will begin their new assignments over the next two weeks.

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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