Last week Crosscut publisher David Brewster wrote a column titled "The talent exodus at Seattle city hall" looking at several high profile departures and blaming them on Mayor Mike McGinn's chaotic administration. Brewster dwells in particular on the case of former deputy mayor Phil Fujii, who returned to a position at Paul Allen's development company, Vulcan. "We now basically do not have a deputy mayor," he writes.
Harsh words if you're Seattle's other deputy mayor, Darryl Smith.Look up Smith in the City Hall directory and his title is quite clear: Deputy Mayor of Community. "I am in large measure out speaking to community groups and business organizations," Smith says, adding that he works closely with the departments of neighborhoods, economic development, housing, and the arts.
Smith also heads up the mayor's "Engage Seattle" initiative--which alerts people to upcoming city events and lets the members of the public know how they can volunteer with McGinn's other community outreach programs, like the Youth and Families Initiative. You can criticize the purpose or effectiveness of McGinn's many initiatives, but go to any of the events associated with them and there's a good chance you'll see Smith there, a man who definitely holds the title "Deputy Mayor."
As to the Crosscut slight, Smith said only "it's not really worth a response."
Brewster did not immediately respond to voice and e-mail messages requesting an explanation for his parenthetical saying the city lacks a second-in-command. But perhaps he didn't catch the joke in April when Caleb Hannan blogged in the wake of Fujii's departure after a shoulder surgery that Smith was leaving as well after suffering a minor oral laceration.
Brewster says he's well aware the Smith holds the "Deputy Mayor" title. But "I don't think of him as a substantive deputy mayor. More of a community relations ribbon-cutting thing there."
To his mind, Brewster says, a real deputy mayor acts more as the chief operating officer for the executive branch of city government.