City council approves contract for new Mountlake Terrace city manager

Jeff Niten

The Mountlake Terrace City Council Thursday night unanimously approved the contract of new City Manager Jeff Niten.

The council chose Niten – the current city manager for the City of Shelton – from a panel of five finalists who applied for the job. He has served as the City of Shelton’s city manager since January 2019 and holds a master’s degree in public administration.

Niten’s annual salary will begin at $200,000.

Niten’s contract with the city is almost eight pages long but current City Manager Andrew Neiditz gave a brief summary of the main points during Thursday night’s council meeting.

The new city manager’s contract is currently open ended.  “Even though there are termination provisions on both his part and [the council’s] part, there is no set end date,” Neiditz said.

Niten will be subject to regular performance evaluations, which will help the council determine if they want to add an end date to his contract down the road. However, the new city manager will still be entitled to six months’ salary should the council decide to terminate his contract without cause.

“Of course, without cause would just be the council determining they want a change,” Neiditz explained.

Niten will receive relocation assistance of up to $15,000 and a monthly car allowance of $500 to help with gas, insurance and regular vehicle maintenance.

“These are just the primary points of the contract,” Neiditz said. “The benefits of the compensation are, I believe, well within the comparable range in our area.”

Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl moved to approve Niten’s contract and without further discussion from councilmembers, the motion was passed unanimously.

Niten will begin his duties at Mountlake Terrace City Hall April 17, just over two weeks after Neiditz is set to serve his last day. During that time, Neiditz and Niten will be meeting to discuss various transition topics like Niten’s expectations and where the city council stands on issues such as its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund spending.

Assistant City Manager Stephen Clifton will handle the city manager’s duties while the two-week transition period takes place, Neiditz said.

— By Lauren Reichenbach

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