Slowly but surely, Mayor Jenny Durkan is building a more stable long-term team at Seattle City Hall. Monday, the mayor announced that Andres Mantilla will remain as the head of the city’s Department of Neighborhoods after the City Council voted to approve him for the permanent role.
Mantilla has been serving as interim director since Durkan replaced longtime DON leader Kathy Nyland in the wake of the shakeup of the city’s neighborhood council system to create a more diverse and equitable “engagement” process.
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The city says Mantilla has been busy in his months as the interim director as he was “responsible for designing, organizing, and implementing” the City’s South Park Bridge Response Plan and implementing over 165 neighborhood improvement projects as part of the South Park Action Agenda. Mantilla also worked to develop “a more inclusive outreach model for minority-owned businesses and service organizations” in South Seattle, according to DON.
The move fills in another key role for the Durkan administration though other important leadership positions are still without longterm leaders. In August, one of the biggest leadership questions for Durkan was temporarily answered as former Washington Department of Transportation official Linea Laird stepped in acting director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. The moves come as the next round of City Hall budgeting is about to begin.
Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods “provides resources and opportunities for community members to build strong communities and improve their quality of life.” The department oversees a wide array of civic decisions including the city’s landmarks designation process and many smaller community grants processes.
“I am honored to serve as Director for Seattle Department of Neighborhoods,” Mantilla said in Monday’s announcement of the decision. “I am deeply appreciative of the power that community engagement and inclusive outreach has in building a more equitable Seattle. I look forward to working with community and neighborhood groups as we continue this important work.”