City of Bothell interviews city manager candidates

Bothell City Hall

By Garrett Stanley

On Monday, Nov. 29, members of the Bothell community were invited to join a Zoom call and listen to three candidates, Brian Davis, Kendall Hodson and Nate Robinson, speak on what they would do if appointed city manager.

Heather Gantz, an executive search consultant who helped find these candidates, moderated the discussion.

Davis has been working for the city of Federal Way for the past five years and thinks that his experience in King County will help him succeed in this position.

“I’ve been able to stay up to date on what cities, including Bothell, are doing with the latest issues that have come out,” Davis said. “Bothell has always had a very good reputation as a place to live and I’m familiar with the political environment.”

While Hodson is currently the chief of staff for King County elections, serving roughly 1.4 million voters, she has many governmental experiences.

“I’ve worked in state government down in Olympia, in federal government very briefly, which cured me of any interest in that long term and then, of course, I’ve spent the past 15 years in regional local government for King County in a variety of positions,” Hodson said. “I’ve been really lucky to have the opportunity to work on a whole host of issues.”

Robinson shared his diverse resume, including work at Motorola and NASA and hopes to use the variety of skills he has acquired to benefit the community.

“I have public, private, and academic, both domestic and international experience,” Robinson said. “What you’re going to see is a trajectory towards social impact and I’m very interested in how to use my skills for social impact.”

When asked about how that will bring accountability and integrity to the position, Robinson responded that it “comes down to transparency when making decisions and communicating.”

“I’ve implemented that in many different ways, through my nonprofit that I helped start. So I’m intimately familiar with how to be transparent about finance and expenditures,” he said.

Hodson agreed with this sentiment and followed up on it.

“That is true even when you make mistakes,” Hodson said. “Another thing that I have seen a lot of in my time in elections is people expect elections to be perfect and that’s the standard, but we’re also human beings. So, when things go sideways or didn’t go as planned, I think it’s incredibly important to have integrity and to bring that accountability forward for yourself and to be honest.”

Davis then summed this notion up with his thoughts.

“Transparency is a hallmark of this profession,” he said. “If we don’t have transparency, we probably shouldn’t be in this position.”

The candidates were unified in their opinions too on fostering a diverse Bothell community.

Davis has experience with this area from his work in Federal Way.

“We’re currently in the process of recruiting for a diversity equity and inclusion coordinator for the city and that will help us out a lot,” Davis said. “Prior to that, we’ve tried to improve access to those who traditionally have not participated in a lot of the city processes that we deal with.”

Robinson thinks Bothell is at a crossroads of several different lifestyles.

“I think Bothell is a really interesting intersection, one that’s mimicked by many communities around the country, where you see this intersection of suburban and urban living and the challenges that come along with it, such as affordable housing or community discussions around safety and police,” he said.

Hodson pointed out that supporting communities in need is not simply a part of the job; it’s in every facet of the position.

“If your goal is really to reach people who have been historically marginalized or underserved, it has to be part of every single conversation,” she said. “One of the most important things a leader does is bring people together, and I think a leader should spend a lot of time listening and asking questions.”

Additional information about the candidates’ backgrounds and a link to a survey to provide feedback about them is available on the city of Bothell website.

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