City Council Members
- Chronological list of council members from 1869 to the present, with information about how the legislative system changed through the years.
- City Council Committees database covering 1971 to the present (includes name of committee, names of committee members, and date)
- Chronological list of mayors from 1869 to the present, including links to portraits
Corporation Counsel/City Attorney
- Chronological list of the city's chief legal counsel from 1876 to the present
The following lists include the directors of current City departments. This section is under construction; new lists will be added regularly until all City departments are included.
Lighting Department/City Light Superintendent
The citizens of Seattle approved a bond issue on March 4, 1902, for development of a lighting plant on the Cedar River. It was completed in 1904 and operated by Seattle Electric Company until January 1905, when it was taken over and operated by the Department of Lighting and Waterworks under the direction of Superintendent Luther B. Young. The Lighting Department was created by a Charter Amendment adopted April 1, 1910.
|4/1910-3/1911||R.M. Arms||Removed by Mayor Dilling.|
|3/1911-3/1931||James D. Ross||Removed by Mayor Edwards.|
|3/1931-5/1931||BPW||The Board of Public Works administered the Lighting Department until a successor to Ross could be appointed.|
|5/1931-7/1931||W. Chester Morse||Appointed by Mayor Edwards and confirmed by Council after it had refused to confirm Armand F. Marion, Morse, Edward A. Duffy, Stirling B. Hill and Burton Pierce.|
|7/1931-3/1939||James D. Ross||Died March 14, 1939.|
|3/1939-5/1939||W.C. McKeen||Appointed as acting Superintendent after the death of Ross. Served until the appointment of a permanent Superintendent.|
|5/1939-12/1953||Eugene R. Hoffman||Resigned December 31, 1953.|
|1/1954-4/1963||Paul J. Raver||Died April 6, 1963.|
|4/1963-6/1972||John M. Nelson|
|1/1980-2/1981||Robert H. Murray|
|2/1981-8/1984||Joseph P. Recchi|
|8/1984-9/1992||Randall W. Hardy|
|9/1992-12/1994||Roberta Palm Bradley|
|12/1994-6/2003||Gary E. Zarker|
The 1869 City Charter granted the Common Council the authority to appoint or elect officers "to provide for the prevention and extinguishment of fires." A City Charter Amendment in 1875 broadened authority to establish building regulations, organize a Fire Department, purchase fire apparatus, ensure a water supply for fire fighting purposes, and levy taxes to pay for fire protection.
Ordinance 129, passed in 1876, established the position of Fire Warden, whose responsibility was management of the City's fire protection function. Prior to 1889, the City was served by a number of volunteer fire companies. Following the Great Fire of 1889, which destroyed most of Seattle's commercial district, the City created a fully professional Fire Department under the direction of a Fire Chief.
|1892-9/1894||A. B. Hunt|
|9/1894-12/1894||Alex J. Allen|
|12/1894-7/1895||William H. Clark|
|12/1906-3/1910||Harry W. Bringhurst|
|3/1910-5/1911||John H. Boyle|
|5/1911-6/1911||William H. Clark||Acting Chief|
|6/1911-10/1920||Frank L. Stetson|
|10/1920-2/1931||George M. Mantor|
|3/1931-6/1932||Robert L. Laing|
|6/1932-4/1938||Claude W. Corning|
|10/1963-7/1972||Gordon F. Vickery|
|7/1972-8/1972||Frank R. Hanson||Acting Chief until Richards confirmation|
|8/1972-12/1974||Jack N. Richards||Removed from office by Mayor Wes Uhlman|
|12/1974-1/1975||Glenn Shelton||Acting Chief|
|1/1975-12/1979||Frank R. Hanson||Hanson was appointed interim Chief, then Acting Chief, and finally appointed Chief|
|1984-6/1985||T. E. Gideon||Acting Chief|
|6/1985-5/1997||Claude Harris||First African-American Fire Chief|
|5/1997-6/2001||James E. Sewell|
|6/2001-1/2004||Gary P. Morris|
|2/2004-present||Gregory Dean||Dean served as interim chief until his permanent appointment in June 2004.|
Director, Office of Housing
In 1999, the Office of Housing was established independent of the Department of Housing and Human Services, which was reorganized as the Human Services Department.
|2010||Bill Rumpf (acting)|
Director, Human Services Department
The Department of Human Resources was created in 1973, superceding the Office of Human Resources that had been part of the Executive Department since 1971. In 1991, the name of the agency was changed to Department of Human Services. A year later, it became the Department of Housing and Human Services. In 1999, the housing function was removed and the agency name was changed to Human Services Department.
|1973-1974||Edward S. Singler|
|1974-1977||Curtis M. Green|
|1978-1980||Donald T. Dudley|
|1981-1984||Theresa Aragon Valdez|
|1985-1990||David R. Okimoto|
|1990-1991||Jerry Agen (acting)|
|1991-1992||Pamela S. Hyde|
|1992-1993||Joe Valentine (acting)|
|1994-2003||Venerria L. Knox|
|2010||Kip Tokuda (acting)|
|2010-2013||Dannette R. Smith|
|2013-||Catherine Lester (acting)|
Director, Office of Intergovernmental Relations
The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) was established in the Executive Department in 1971 to act as the City's liaison with other cities and governmental agencies. In 1973, the IGA was moved to the Office of Executive Policy, and in 1975 was incorporated into the Office of Policy Planning. The Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR) became an independent agency in 1979, and absorbed the former Office of International Affairs in 1992.
|1995||Linda Cannon (acting)|
|1997||Linda Cannon (acting)|
|2014-||Nick Harper (acting)|
Superintendent of Parks and Recreation
The 1890 City Charter placed the management of the City parks in the hands of a Park Commission and invested the Commission with the authority to appoint a Superintendent of Parks.
The 1896 City Charter replaced the Park Commission with a Park Committee that reported directly to the City Council. Management of the parks was vested in the City Council; the position of Superintendent of Parks was abolished; and the day-to-day administration of parks business was assumed by the Superintendent of Streets, Sewers, and Parks.
An amendment to the City Charter in 1904 established the Board of Park Commissioners which was given authority to hire all such employees, including superintendents, it deemed necessary to maintain the park system. The following men led the daily operations of the parks staff under varying job titles including Superintendent, Landscape Architect, and Parks Engineer.
|1922-1924||Jesse A. Jackson|
|1922-1926||Fred P. Matthys|
|1927-1934||Eugene R. Hoffman|
|1948-1960||Paul V. Brown|
A 1967 City Charter amendment established the Department of Parks and Recreation, reduced the Board of Park Commissioners to an advisory body, and placed the management of the department with the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation. The Superintendent was appointed by the mayor for a four-year term.
|1973-1977||David L. Towne|
A City Charter amendment in 1977 abolished the four-year term restriction for the Superintendent.
|2007||Betty Jean Brooks||Brooks was interim Superintendent from February to November.|
|2010-present||Christopher Williams||Acting Superintendent|
Chief of Police
The 1869 City Charter established the Marshall as the City's peace officer. The Marshall was elected by the voters for a one year term.
|1869||John T. Jordan|
|1870-1872||L. V. Wyckoff|
|1873||F. A. Minick|
|1874||D. H. Webster|
|1875||L. V. Wyckoff||Also served as Assessor.|
|1876||R. H. Turnbull|
|1877||E. A. Thorndyke|
|1878||F. A. Minick|
|1879||E. A. Thorndyke|
|1880-1881||J. H. McGraw||Also served as Fire Warden. Resigned in 1881 when elected King County Sheriff.|
|1882-1883||J. H. Woolery|
An 1883 City Charter Amendment abolished the position of Marshall and created the new position of Chief of Police. The Chief was elected by the voters of the City for a one-year term.
|1884-1886||J. H. Woolery||Woolery was dismissed by the Mayor on June 15, 1885, but was reelected on July 27.|
|1886-1887||William M. Murphy|
|1888-1889||J. C. Mitchell||Mitchell was removed from office on April 12, 1889.|
|1889||O. D. Butterfield|
|1890||George C. Monroe|
The Freeholders City Charter of 1890 created a five-member Board of Police Commissioners to oversee the operations of the Police Department. The Commission, chaired by the Mayor, had authority to appoint the Chief of Police.
|1893||Andrew Jackson||Resigned during the year.|
|1893-1894||D. F. Willard|
The Freeholders City Charter of 1896 abolished the Board of Police Commissioners and gave the Mayor the authority to appoint and remove the Police Chief.
|1897-1900||C. S. Reed|
|1904-1905||Thomas R. Delaney|
|1906-1907||Charles W. Wappenstein|
|1910||Charles W. Wappenstein|
|1911-1913||C. G. Bannick|
|1914||Austin E. Griffiths|
|1915-1916||Louis E. Lang|
|1916-1917||C. F. Beckingham|
|1918-1919||J. F. Warren|
|1920-6/1922||W. H. Searing|
|6/1922-6/1926||W. B. Severyns||On June 23, 1924, acting Mayor Bertha Landes took control of the Police Department and removed Severyns and named Captain Bannick as acting chief. When Mayor Edwin Brown returned to town seven days later, he immediately reinstated Severyns.|
|6/1926-6/1928||W. H. Searing|
|6/1928-7/1931||Louis J. Forbes|
|7/1931-5/1932||William B. Kent||Kent was appointed by Mayor Harlin when the latter took office following Mayor Edwards' recall. Kent retired less than a year later.|
|5/1932-6/1932||G. H. Comstock||Comstock was appointed acting Police Chief by Mayor Harlin.|
|6/1932-6/1934||L. L. Norton|
|6/1934-7/1934||George F. Howard||Howard resigned following a disagreement with Mayor Smith over the handling of the longshoremen's strike.|
|7/1934-12/1934||George H. Comstock||Comstock was dismissed by Mayor Smith after he resisted the Mayor's attempt to force retirement of older officers.|
|12/1934-1/1935||Mayor Charles Smith||The Mayor assumed control of the Police Department with Walter B. Kirtley serving as inspector.|
|1/1935-4/1936||Walter B. Kirtley||Kirtley was acting chief from January 17 to February 20. He was subsequently appointed Chief.|
A City Charter Amendment in 1936 provided for the Chief of Police to be appointed for a five year term of office.
|4/1936-5/1941||William H. Sears|
|5/1941-6/1941||William H. Sears||Reappointed for a five-year term, but failed to be confirmed by Council on a 4-5 vote, June 12, 1941.|
|6/1941||Walter B. Kirtley||Mayor Millikin appointed Kirtley. When Millikin left town, acting Mayor Levine withdrew the appointment before confirmation and appointed Harlan Callahan.|
|7/1941||Harlan S. Callahan||Millikin, upon return to the City, withdrew Callahan's name and appointed Kinsey who was confirmed unanimously.|
|7/1941-4/1946||Herbert D. Kinsey|
A new Freeholders City Charter was adopted March 12, 1946. Under its provisions, the term of the Chief of Police was not specified.
|8/1946-4/1952||George D. Eastman|
|4/1952-9/1952||Frank Ramon||Served as acting police chief. Ramon resigned Sept. 25, 1952.|
|9/1952-1/1953||H. James Lawrence||Lawrence was appointed acting chief, serving until he was appointed and confirmed as chief.|
|2/1953-1/1961||H. James Lawrence|
|1/1961-11/1969||Frank Ramon||Retired in Nov. 1969.|
|11/1969-7/1970||W. F. Moore||Moore was acting chief until Gain was appointed acting chief.|
|7/1970-8/1970||C. R. Gain|
|8/1970-9/1970||Edward Toothman||Toothman was appointed interim chief until a permanent appointment was made.|
|9/1970-3/1974||George Tielsch||Resigned March 15, 1974.|
|3/1974-3/1978||Robert Hanson||Served as interim chief until his permanent appointment. Hanson resigned March 29, 1978.|
|3/1978-2/1979||H. A. Vanden Wyer|
|2/2000-7/2000||Herb Johnson||Served as acting chief.|
|7/2000-3/2009||Gil Kerlikowske||Left to become the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.|
|5/2009-4/2013||John Diaz||Diaz served as interim chief until his permanent appointment in August 2010.|
|4/2013-1/2014||Jim Pugel||Served as acting chief.|
|1/2014-6/2014||Harry Bailey||Served as acting chief.|
This list is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Due to the high incidence of firings and resignations, it is possible that some dates are imprecise.
Director, Seattle Center
The Seattle Center Department was created in 1965 to administer, manage and control the facilities on the site of the 1962 World's Fair. The facilities at the Seattle Center date back to 1927 with completion of the construction of the Civic Auditorium, Civic Arena, Veterans Hall, and the Civic Playfield. The property expanded to 74 acres in 1962 to accommodate the World's Fair. The Center's purpose is to be an active civic center providing facilities and programs supporting the arts, education, sports and entertainment. It is home for the Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, three resident theaters, and the Seattle Storm professional basketball team. In addition, there are five facilities on the grounds that are not owned by the City: the Space Needle, Memorial Stadium, the Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and the Experience Music Project.
|1982-1988||Evan Dingwall (acting, then permanent)|
|1988||C. David Hughbanks (acting)|
Director, Seattle Public Utilities
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) was created in 1997 when the water, solid waste, drainage, and wastewater utilities from the Engineering and Water departments were merged with the Engineering Services Division of the Engineering Department and the Customer Service Call Center and Construction Engineering Sections of City Light.
|2002-2009||Charles C. Clarke|
Director, Department of Transportation
The Seattle Transportation Department was created in 1997 when the traffic and transportation functions of the Engineering Department were consolidated. By June 2002, Transportation and the Strategic Planning Office consolidated to form a newly organized department which absorbed responsibilities for maintenance and operation of streets, bridges, retaining walls and seawalls, and traffic control systems in the City. An ordinance passed in 2004 changed the department's name to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).
|2014-||Goran Sparrman (acting)|
Discontinued Departments/Elected Officials
The following lists include elected official positions that were abolished by Charter Amendment and departments that were reorganized and whose functions were moved to new or different agencies. For example, the City Clerk was an elected official for nearly 27 years until a new Charter in 1896 designated the Comptroller as City Clerk. (Today, the City Clerk is an appointed official in the Legislative Department.) The Engineering Department and Water Department were reorganized in 1996 with their functions moved to the newly created Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Department of Transportation.
Discontinued Departments/Elected Officials
City Clerk, Elected (1869-1896)
Clerks of the Common Council
The City Charter of 1869 established that the Common Council elect a Clerk who would keep a "fair and correct journal of its proceedings, and to file and keep all papers and books connected with the business of the council." The Clerk also had responsibility for maintaining the books of accounts for the town.
|1873||E. H. Brown|
|1874||William R. Andrews|
|1875||Henry E. Hathaway|
An 1875 City Charter amendment changed the title of the Clerk of the Common Council to City Clerk; the duties and method of election remained the same.
|1876||W. A. Inman|
|1878-1884||Eben S. Osborne|
|1889-1890||Chauncey W. Ferris|
The new City Charter of 1890 created the Clerical Department and provided for the election of the City Clerk by a vote of the people for a term of two years. The financial functions were removed from the Clerk and placed in the newly created Finance Department, under the jurisdiction of the Comptroller.
|1890-1892||Henry W. Miller|
|1892-1894||George J. Stoneman|
The new City Charter of 1896 established the Comptroller as the ex-officio City Clerk with the authority to appoint deputy clerks to carry out the clerical functions.
The Office of the City Comptroller was established by the 1890 City Charter. The Comptroller was responsible for the general supervision of the City's financial affairs including maintenance of the municipal accounting system. The new Freeholders City Charter of 1896 transferred all of the Clerical Department responsibilities to the City Comptroller and made the Comptroller the ex-officio City Clerk. A City Charter Amendment passed by the voters in 1991 abolished the elective offices of Comptroller and Treasurer and combined the duties in a Department of Finance.
|1890-1892||Chauncey W. Ferris|
|1894-1900||Will H. Parry||Parry became the first Comptroller to also serve as City Clerk following adoption of the 1896 City Charter.|
|1900-1902||Frank H. Paul|
|1906-1910||Harry W. Carroll|
|1912-1938||Harry W. Carroll||Carroll died in June 1938.|
|1938-1958||W.C. Thomas||Thomas was appointed to fill Carroll's position and was elected in the subsequent election.|
|1958-1975||Carl G. Erlandson|
|1976-1979||Edward L. Kidd|
|1980-1985||Tim Hill||Hill resigned to become King County Executive.|
|1986-1992||Norward J. Brooks||Brooks resigned prior to the dissolution of the Office of the Comptroller.|
The position of City Engineer is first mentioned in the City Charter in 1873. The Engineer was elected by the Common Council. Two years later, the designation "Engineer" was replaced by the office of the Surveyor, also elected by the Common Council. The title was dropped from the City Charter by amendment in 1877, only to be reinstated by another amendment in 1883.
|1873-1875||W. B. Hall||Surveyor|
|8/1875-7/1876||R. L. Thorne|
|7/1876-7/1878||Phillip G. Eastwick||Eastwick is credited with establishing the earliest datum point in Seattle.|
|7/1878-8/1879||M. J. Costello|
|8/1879-7/1882||F. H. Whitworth|
|7/1882-8/1883||Joseph M. Snow|
|8/1883-8/1886||Reginald H. Thomson|
|7/1888-8/1890||John G. Scurry|
|8/1890-11/1890||M. Stixrud||Also served as Fire Warden. Resigned in 1881 when elected King County Sheriff.|
The Freeholders City Charter of 1890 provided for a City Engineer to be appointed by the Board of Public Works and to serve at the pleasure of the Board.
|11/1890-5/1892||Albro Gardner||Gardner is considered Seattle's first City Engineer.|
|5/1892-1896||Reginald H. Thomson||The Board of Public Works removed Thomson in Feb. 1894, whereupon Mayor Ronald removed two members of the Board and Thomson was reinstated.|
The new Freeholders City Charter of 1896 provided that the City Engineer be appointed by the Mayor to serve a term of three years.
|1896-1911||Reginald H. Thomson||Thomson retired due to poor health.|
|11/1911-7/1922||Arthur H. Dimock||Dimock was appointed to serve out Thomson's term and was subsequently appointed City Engineer.|
|7/1922-1/1927||James D. Blackwell|
|2/1927-6/1928||W. Chester Morse|
|6/1928-7/1930||William D. Barkhuff||Barkhuff died while serving as Engineer.|
|8/1930-7/1931||Reginald H. Thomson||Thomson was appointed to serve out Barkhuff's term.|
|7/1931-7/1932||Daniel W. McMorris|
|7/1932-6/1934||Melvin O. Syliaasen|
|6/1934-8/1934||Oscar A. Piper||Acting City Engineer.|
|8/1934-6/1936||Thomas R. Beeman|
|6/1936||Oscar A. Piper||Acting City Engineer.|
|6/1936-3/1938||Nathaniel A. Carle|
|5/1938-12/1947||Charles L. Wartelle||Wartelle resigned due to ill health.|
|1/1948-5/1948||C. G. Will||Acting City Engineer pending appointment and confirmation of Ralph W. Finke.|
|5/1948-12/1952||Ralph W. Finke||Resigned Nov. 28, 1952.|
|12/1952-2/1953||R. R. Hubbard||Acting City Engineer.|
|2/1953-2/1957||William F. Parker||Was appointed Dec. 24, 1952 but did not take office until Feb. 2, 1953 due to Navy service.|
|2/1957-4/1971||Roy W. Morse||Morse resigned his position as Superintendent of Water to become City Engineer. Roy was the son of Chester Morse.|
|5/1971-5/1974||Robert J. Gulino|
|5/1974-5/1981||Paul A. Wiatrak|
|4/1986-10/1994||Gary Zarker||Zarker was appointed interim Director of Engineering and later appointed Director. He was the first non-engineer to serve as director of the department.|
The Engineering Department was abolished in 1997; its functions were divided between Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Transportation.
The 1869 City Charter specified that the Treasurer was elected by a majority vote of the Common Council.
|1869-1872||Charles H. Burnett|
|1883||William H. Taylor|
|1886||Lewis A. Treen|
|1889-1892||Willis L. Amers|
The Freeholders' City Charter of 1890 provided for the election of a Treasurer by the qualified voting citizens of the City. The Treasurer's term of office was set at two years.
|1896-1898||George F. Meacham|
|1898-1900||Aaron H. Foote|
|1900-1902||Samuel F. Rathbun|
|1902-1904||Matt H. Gormley|
|1904-1906||Samuel F. Rathbun|
|1906-1908||George F. Russell|
|1908-1910||William T. Prosser|
|1910-1929||Ed L. Terry|
|1929-1952||H.L. Collier||Elected by City Council to fill unexpired term of Ed Terry. Resigned October 14, 1952.|
|1952-1967||George H. Culver||Appointed to fill Collier's unexpired term. Retired January 16, 1967.|
|1967-1972||Egil D. Lorentzen||Appointed January 16, 1967 to fill unexpired term of Culver.|
|1972-1973||P. F. Eldred||Resigned January 1, 1974.|
|1974-1979||John W. Kelly|
|1980-1992||Lloyd Hara||The Treasurer's Office was abolished by a citizen vote on a City Charter amendment.|
Seattle Street Commissioner
A City Charter Amendment in 1875 created the position of Street Commissioner to be elected annually by the Common Council. The new City Charter of 1890 stipulated that the Street Commissioner be appointed by the Board of Public Works and a subsequent Amendment in 1894 required that the position be filled by a member of the Board.
|1889-1891||George N. Alexander|
|1894-1896||George N. Alexander|
The new Freeholders City Charter of 1896 created the position of Superintendent of Streets, Sewers, and Parks. The Superintendent was appointed by the Mayor for a three-year term. In 1904, with creation of the Board of Parks Commissioners, the Parks function was removed from the Superintendent. The Department of Streets and Sewers was abolished in 1936 and became the Maintenance Division of the Engineering Department.
|1903-1906||A.L. Walters||Appointed to serve Little's unexpired term and was subsequently appointed for a full three-year term.|
|1907-10/1907||Charles R. Case||Michael T. Maloney was appointed, but not confirmed. Case was appointed, but resigned in October.|
|10/1907-12/1909||Michael T. Maloney||Maloney was appointed to finish out Case's term.|
|1913-1921||Charles R. Case|
|8/1922-12/1922||Mayor Brown appointed George W. Scott, Carl S. Gassman, Francis R. Kelly, and Charles Bolsby, to serve Piper's unexpired term, but the Council refused to confirm any of them. Lt. Col. G.N. Rice was finally elected, but the Mayor refused to accept his bond. Rice resigned eight days after his confirmation by the Council. During part of this period, assistant superintendent Byron Thomas served as acting superintendent.|
|12/1922-6/1928||W.D. Barkhuff||Barkhuff was appointed to served the balance of Piper's term and was subsequently appointed to two additional three-year terms. He resigned to become City Engineer.|
|6/1928-7/1931||Daniel A. Boyle|
|7/1931-6/1932||Harry W. Dail|
|6/1932-6/1934||Herman W. Ross|
|6/1934-3/1936||Dudley B. Eddy||Department was abolished.|
Water Department Superintendent
A public waterworks was created by City Charter Amendment in 1875. However, Seattle was served primarily by small private water companies for the next decade-and-a-half. Following the Great Fire of 1889, citizens voted to fund creation of a municipally owned water system. The City purchased the private systems and began development of the Cedar River Watershed, and since 1891, has owned and operated a municipal water system. The system was administered by the Superintendent of Water under the auspices of the Board of Public Works. In 1905 the Department of Lighting and Water Works was created. Five years later, the Water Department became a separate entity. In 1997 the Water Department was consolidated with the utilities of the Engineering Department to form Seattle Public Utilities.
|1888-1889||Board of Public Works||No Water Department.|
|1890||J.F. Pratt||Served for 12 days.|
|1895-1923||Luther B. Youngs||Died in office.|
|1923-1926||George F. Russell|
|1926-1928||L. Murray Grant|
|1932-1934||Otto D. Rohlfs|
|1934-1936||Harold D. Fowler||Resigned 6/1/36.|
|1936-1938||Joseph E. Whetstone|
|1938-1949||William C. Morse||Died in office.|
|1949-1955||Roy W. Morse||Resigned to become City Engineer.|
|1955||Louis Judkins||Served for two weeks.|
|1955-1966||James Raymond Heath|
|1967-1987||Kenneth M. Lowthian|
|1987||Thomas E. Spring||Served for 3 months.|
|1987-1994||Robert P. Groncznack|
|1994||Scott Haskins||Served for 2 months.|