Neiditz Will Remain as Lakewood's City Manager

The current city manager fell short of earning Tacoma's top municipal position to T.C. Broadnax of San Antonio. Councilmembers, however, said they are pleased to see his return, bringing stability in a projected transitional phase for 2012.

Change is inevitable but Andrew Neiditz is staying put.

Neiditz, 58, , previous assistant city manager of San Antonio. Neiditz garnered three votes from the Tacoma City Council in a three-man finalist finish on Tuesday. Rey Arellano, interim city manager, earned a vote, respectively.

Neidtiz said accepting defeat was tough because of the .

"The whole process was fairly intense and competitive," Neiditz said. "As I came pretty close at the end of the process, I felt a bit disappointed. But I have no regrets about going through the process. The only concern I had was would the city of Lakewood misinterpreting that I’m not committed to Lakewood."

There was some concern in his eyes that his near seven years would be cast aside by applying for the job in Tacoma. But upon walking through the doors the day after, Neiditz said he felt welcomed back, although he technically never left.

It may have proven that no leadership change for Lakewood worked out better versus Neiditz moving on to spearheading the cities' bigger brother of nearly 200,000 people.

Walter Neary, exiting city councilman who served the city for eight years, said 2012 is not the year to lose Lakewood's experienced city manager, noting that Lakewood Mayor Douglas Richardson—who has been there since the city incorporated 16 years ago—will almost certainly be elected as a Pierce County Councilman next year.

And with two fresh councilmembers— and —being sworn in January 2012, the council body will be relatively young.

"And so the council will have a huge leadership transition and a majority of councilmembers will have served less than three years," Neary said. "It's good to get new ideas from new people, but it's good to have experienced people around too."

Tacoma Councilmembers referenced Broadnax's extensive fiscal experience as a difference maker, ut that's not taking away from Neiditz qualifications. Councilmembers believe they would have been hard-pressed finding another candidate with his experience and knowledge of Lakewood and the surrounding area considering Neiditz previously lived in Tacoma for 20 years.

Don Anderson, Lakewood councilman, said his performance as Lakewood city manager has been commendable and that he can understand his desire to compete for the Tacoma position with the professional challenge and rewards it would entail.

"However, on a personal level, I am pleased that I will have the opportunity to continue to work with him to find solutions for issues in Lakewood," Anderson said.

As any good sport in a competition does, Neiditz sent Broadnax an e-mail congratulating him, saying having a positive relationship with bordering cities is essential.

"I'm sure we're going to get along fine," Neiditz said. The two will likely be discussing regional challenges like Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Interstate 5 traffic challenges and the new South Sound 911 communication agency.

As for his tenure as Lakewood's city manager, Neiditz said retirement is in the far future.

"Each city manager ought to be assessing the support he (or she) has from the council," he said. "There's a lot of important work ahead."


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