Mayor Kelli Linville is announcing a second interim director in her final year in office. Mayor Linville said the City's next mayor will have the opportunity to select a permanent Fire Chief and Public Works director for Bellingham.
Ted Carlson, Public Works director since 2009, is leaving City employment on Aug. 15 to become the general manager for Sanitary Services Company.
Mayor Linville has named Eric Johnston, P.E., a current Public Works assistant director as Interim Director of the department, effective Aug. 16.
I'm pleased to announce this appointment," Mayor Linville said. “I have had the pleasure of working with Eric for the past seven years, and I have found him to be professional, effective and focused on the public interest as he performed his duties as Assistant Director of Public Works Operations."
Since joining the City of Bellingham in 2012, Johnston has been in charge of the Public Works division responsible for maintenance and operations of the City's infrastructure. He also served as interim City Engineer in 2016 after Bellingham's top engineer departed and while a search was underway. Before coming to Bellingham, Johnston was City Engineer for Oak Harbor, Wash.
Bellingham's Public Works department includes Engineering, Operations and Natural Resources. The department delivers and maintains services used daily. In 2018, Public Works:
- Treated six billion gallons of drinking water
- Inspected 150 miles and cleaned 235 miles of sewer main
- Swept and maintained 3,000 lane miles of city streets
- Inspected over 12,000 boats to keep invasive species out of Lake Whatcom
- Installed 95 curb ramps to make sidewalks more accessible
- Planted more than 29,000 trees in restoration sites
“I have confidence that the department will continue to run smoothly under Eric's leadership," said Linville.
The City will likely conduct a national search for the next director of Bellingham's largest city department.