Claudia Balducci named last week as Mayor of Bellevue
King County Executive Dow Constantine said today his Director of Adult and Juvenile Detention has decided to step down and take on a new role within the County’s criminal justice system, following her selection last week to serve as Mayor of Bellevue.
“The timing seems right to make this change – for the Department, for my family, and for myself,” said Claudia Balducci. “I am immensely proud of this Department and have been honored to work with and for the people of DAJD. The management team and staff at DAJD are inspirational in their commitment to public safety, to the Department, and to each other. Although I will be leaving the Department, I am excited to continue to work in support of public safety at King County, and an effective and humane criminal justice system.”
“Claudia has provided exceptional leadership in partnering with the cities on jail services, while bringing improvements to the safety of the public, staff, and inmates at our facilities,” said Executive Constantine. “I look forward to her service in a new role, as we develop and drive new ideas for the criminal justice system in King County.”
The Executive cited Balducci’s significant accomplishments in three years as Director of Adult and Juvenile Detention (DAJD) to stabilize and improve the provision of detention and community correction services for the public, including:
- Sparing Seattle and the north cities coalition the cost and turmoil of siting and building a new jail, through negotiation of a long-term agreement that provides the cities with a guaranteed level of jail bed space through 2030.
- Earning a grade of 100 percent from the U.S. Department of Justice for what it called “timely, proactive and tireless” reforms to house inmates in a safe and secure environment, meeting the standards of a three-year Memorandum of Agreement.
- Playing a key role in voter approval for construction of a new Children and Family Justice Center, with funding for a new juvenile detention facility that will replace the existing, inadequate facility.
- Embracing Lean principles within DAJD to improve operations in the jails, most notably restructuring how treatment is provided to inmates with significant psychiatric needs, improving service while ultimately saving the public an estimated $2 million a year.
Balducci served at DAJD for 15 years in a number of complex roles, including as Settlement Coordinator during the Justice Department scrutiny of improvements to inmate care at the King County Jail, and as Operations Manager, regional jail coordinator, and labor negotiator.
She was first elected to the part-time position of Bellevue City Councilmember in 2004, and her colleagues last week selected her as Bellevue Mayor.
Balducci’s last day with DAJD will be January 31. In her new role as Strategy Section Manager for Criminal Justice in the King County Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget.
The Commander of the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, Commander William Hayes, will serve as Acting Director of DAJD while a recruitment process is developed. Commander Hayes is a 29-year veteran of DAJD with extensive experience in jail operations and administration.
The King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention is an urban, multi-facility correctional services system, with a staff of more than 900, two adult detention facilities, a Community Corrections Division, a Juvenile Division and an Administrative Division. Its two facilities currently house an average of nearly 1,900 adult inmates per day. It is the second-largest facility housing the mentally ill in Washington state.