The city of DuPont has a new administrator, and he comes from a much larger city.
Ted Danek, former city administrator for the city of Spokane, started in DuPont on Monday. He replaces Dawn Masko, who was with the south Pierce County city for nine years and was administrator for three. She went to work for the city of North Bend as assistant city administrator.
Danek, 47, was hired as DuPont’s interim city administrator, affording the city time to do a larger recruitment process if city leaders think it’s necessary. Mayor Michael Grayum hasn’t put a time limit on the interim position but said it could last up to six months.
Danek said he plans to apply for the permanent position.
“I hope that I can become the permanent city administrator, but I think the way the city is doing this is the smart way,” he said Tuesday.
Danek, who relocated to DuPont from Spokane last week, views this as a chance to prove himself.
“My biggest priority is to take the vision and the guidance from the council and enact that and make sure that the mayor’s goals and objectives are met in the day-to-day operations,” he said. “My second priority will be to make sure the citizens feel like they’re best being served.”
Danek’s experience in Spokane, a city with a population of around 209,000, could be seen as an asset for DuPont, whose population is just below 9,000.
DuPont is navigating financial challenges after voters rejected a property tax increase in 2012 that would have covered the annual $1.3 million debt payment for the city’s civic center and retained three firefighters hired with grant money.
To help balance the 2013 budget the council approved utility tax increases, increased business license costs, established a building and occupation tax and an annual $20 fee for license tab renewals.
Danek, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, was a pilot during his 21 years of active duty. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1987. The Virginia native landed with his family in Washington state in 2004.
He was Spokane’s city administrator for four years before leaving the post in 2012 when the newly elected mayor laid off the city’s top three administrators before taking office, according to The Spokesman-Review.
Most recently Danek was the marketing director for Contineo Inc., a professional services company in Spokane.
Danek’s military career combined with his administrative experience is what lifted him above other contenders, Grayum said. DuPont was the fastest-growing city in Pierce County between 2000 and 2010, based largely on the increase in service members and veterans around Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“The thing that was most important to me was to get someone who was a strong leader and a strong manager,” Grayum said. “I wanted someone who could serve as a chief operating officer and who had a strong military background.”
Danek was one of four finalists for the position, Grayum said. The position’s annual salary is $97,719, which reflects the 3 percent salary cut Grayum implemented for all exempt employees in 2012.
Danek’s wife of 27 years is a schoolteacher in Spokane and will relocate to DuPont when the school year ends. The couple has two daughters, both graduate students.Brynn Grimley: 253-597-8467 brynn.grimley@ thenewstribune.com @bgrimley