Politics & Government

Only woman in running for Tacoma manager’s job drops out

On the eve of the Tacoma City Council’s vote to pick a new city manager, one of the four finalists for the job has withdrawn from consideration, the city said Friday.

Belinda Graham, who is currently working for the city of Port Townsend on development and planning issues, did not immediately return an email asking why she dropped out.

The finalists were invited to Tacoma for interviews on Thursday and Friday and are scheduled to appear at a public forum and reception at the Tacoma Municipal Building on Friday evening from 5 to 7 p.m.

Graham, who is retired, worked for the City of Riverside in California as assistant city manager. She is collecting an annual pension of $127,356.24. Since 2014 she has been a finalist for city manager positions in Puyallup, Sequim and Bellevue but been passed over.

Graham was the only woman in the group after the City Council did a re-vote last week that cut Aretha Ferrell-Benavides out of the running, narrowing the finalist list down to four.

Speaking about the varied strengths of each of the four last week, Mayor Marilyn Strickland said she liked that Graham has an MBA and a strong background in economic development.

Three finalists remain: Bob Cowell, Walter Bobkiewicz and Kristoff Bauer. The City Council is scheduled to vote on their chosen candidate at a special meeting Saturday at 10 a.m.

Candice Ruud: 253-597-8441, @candiceruud

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