Tacoma City Council filled a key open position at city hall on June 12 when it confirmed the hiring of a director of the Community and Economic Development Department. Jeff Robinson has held the same position with the City of SeaTac for the past 10 years. Prior to that he was community and development director for Martin Luther King Housing Development Association, vice president of Mercy Housing Corporation, community development vice president for U.S. Bank in Seattle and housing trust fund manager for the state of Washington. He has a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
Earlier this year the city held a meet and greet with four finalists for the position. Robinson was not among the group. City Manager Elizabeth Pauli was contacted by a concerned citizen about this. In an e-mail she sent in response, Pauli stated that Robinson’s application was screened by the same two panels that screened the other applicants. The panels contained city staff and external stakeholders. Robinson was not announced as a finalist at first because the city had not confirmed his ability to participate in the later stages of the process.
When council members interviewed the other candidates, Robinson was out of the country. He was interviewed that same day via Skype, in a session that was open to the public. Upon his return to the United States, he completed an interview with the Community and Economic Development Panel.
Councilmember Ryan Mello described Robinson as “an excellent candidate.” Pauli said that city staff are excited to have him on board. “I look forward to working with Jeff in the years ahead,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards.
In his new job Robinson will be responsible for building partnerships with residents, businesses, developers and other external organizations to advance Tacoma’s economic development strategy. This includes addressing the housing issue. His salary will be $161,000 a year. He is expected to start on July 9.