Blaine hires new manager

Published on Wed, May 29, 2013 by Brandy Kiger Shreve

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After several months of searching, Blaine City Council has found their man.

At the May 28 regular city council meeting, council unanimously approved a contract and officially hired Dave Wilbrecht of Mammoth Lakes, California as the city’s new manager. It was a unanimous decision.

Wilbrecht will replace current city manager Gary Tomsic, who announced his retirement in January. He will begin his new job on June 24.

“I think it’s terrific,” said mayor Harry Robinson. “He’s a real professional and he’s going to do a great job. He’s a solid candidate.”

Wilbrecht was selected from a pool of 45 candidates, and brings a wide range of experience to the table.

“My background is really in operations – really hands on stuff,” he said during an address at a public reception held May 23. “I started out in parks and recreation management; I’ve done a lot of events management and I worked in one of the busiest ski areas in North America.”

Wilbrecht was hired as town manager for Mammoth Lakes to deal with the town’s financial crisis and potential bankruptcy brought on by a lawsuit which the city had lost. After several years at the helm, during which Wilbrecht helped the city get its head above water, he eventually decided to retire from the position. “It was a tough situation, and that town will struggle for years,” he said. “But I did everything I could. It was a wonderful place to live, but the work had lost its zeal.” 

Prior to that, he was county administrative officer for Mono County, California for eight years and the director of parks, recreation and community services for Mammoth Lakes from 2000 to 2003. 

He also has 18 years of local government experience in Washington state, and his resume includes stints as both the deputy director of parks, recreation and cultural services for Federal Way and parks division manager for Redmond.

Earlier, he worked for Auburn and  Snohomish County Sheriff’s office and planning department.

“I couldn’t quite wrap my head around being retired,” Wilbrecht said. “I still have a lot of energy left and a lot of things I want to do. I see a lot of potential here [in Blaine]. But I get the sense that the town is languishing and needs a leader. There needs to be a plan.”

A Washington native, Wilbrecht holds a master’s degree in public administration from Seattle University and has more than 30 years of experience in public service.

Wilbrecht will earn $110,000 per year as city manager.