Bruce Dammeier, who next month will become the first Republican Pierce County executive in 16 years, has tapped a former Democratic state treasurer and lawmaker as his second in command.
Dan Grimm and Dammeier have something in common: They have represented the Puyallup area in the Legislature.
Grimm was among the six-member executive team that Dammeier announced Thursday.
“Some people get accused of putting in a cabinet of ‘yes’ people,” said Dammeier, who is leaving the state Senate after nearly eight years in the Legislature. “This is the opposite of that. It’s not quite a team of rivals like (President Abraham) Lincoln did, but we have a range of ages, a range of political perspectives and a range of experience.”
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Four of the six people named to his inner circle have ties to the Legislature, including Grimm, who spent 12 years in the House and two terms as state treasurer until entering the private sector in the late 1990s. Grimm returned to Olympia earlier this year as special assistant to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn.
Grimm said he was surprised when Dammeier asked him to join his transition team and never anticipated a permanent position in his administration.
“He has always been focused on making the best policy decision for the long-term benefit of the people he represented, which to me transcends party affiliation,” Grimm said.
While in the state House, Grimm was chairman of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee. He was part of the Pierce County delegation responsible for transforming Tacoma’s warehouse district with the construction of the Washington State History Museum and establishment of the University of Washington Tacoma campus.
Grimm will have the title of chief operating officer, a position that lines up with the deputy executive role now held by Ron Klein.
Klein, Al Rose and Keri Rooney, all part of outgoing executive Pat McCarthy’s administrative team, will join McCarthy in the state Auditor’s Office, according to county spokeswoman Libby Catalinich. McCarthy won election to state auditor in November.
In addition to Grimm, Dammeier’s team includes:
▪ Brian Hardtke as director of policy and deputy counsel. Hardtke has been a legislative and policy analyst for the state Department of Licensing and previously was a policy analyst for the state House Republican Caucus.
▪ Don Anderson as senior counsel and military liaison and veteran services. Anderson, the mayor of Lakewood, will keep his seat on the City Council as he assumes his new job. He has worked at Tacoma law firm Eisenhower Carlson, PLLC, for 35 years including as managing partner and chair. He also has served as a Navy judge advocate general officer.
▪ Carol Mitchell as director of justice services and special projects. Mitchell is leaving Metro Parks Tacoma, where she was the chief organizational development officer. She is a former human resources director for the Port of Tacoma and the longtime host of Tacoma’s CityLine television show.
▪ Chris Cooley as special assistant for budget and finance and special projects. His previous experience includes work with the city of Chicago and the state Legislature, where he worked for Dammeier.
▪ Sarah Pollock as director of constituent services. Pollock worked as legislative assistant to state Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, who was elected to the state Senate to replace Dammeier. She was field director for Rob McKenna’s gubernatorial race and most recently managed Dammeier’s executive campaign.
Dammeier said he expects his appointments to leverage their ties to the Legislature, local government, park districts and the military to benefit the county. He also wants to build a strong relationship with the County Council, he said.
“Does that mean we will agree on everything? Absolutely not. But we’re going to be very intentional,” he said of building trust with the seven-member legislative body. Dammeier beat two of its members — Republican Dan Roach and Democrat Rick Talbert — to win the executive’s office.
More change for county government is likely coming. An independent consulting firm has interviewed department directors and management team members and will submit its report to Dammeier in January.
McCarthy hired Karras Consulting to perform the interviews as part of the transition. Dammeier also has met with department heads and said the reorganization will result in turnover in some departments.
Dammeier will be sworn in at a ceremony Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the McGavick Conference Center on the campus of Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood.