This city worker enjoys stirring multiple pots

Few people know as much about the operations of Kent city government as Julie Pulliam.

Julie Pulliam is the woman behind the city council. She’s the administrative assistant to the City Council and the economic development director.

Julie Pulliam likes to be busy

Few people know as much about the operations of Kent city government as Julie Pulliam.

Pulliam works as an administrative assistant to the seven-member City Council out of Mayor Suzette Cooke’s office. In addition, she assists Ben Wolters, economic development director; Toni Azzola, Neighborhood Councils program coordinator; and Michelle Witham, community and public affairs manager.

“It’s bad when she takes vacation,” Witham said of Pulliam, who has worked for the city since 2001 and has had her current position since 2004.

Pulliam loves the variety of work she gets with so many people, as she juggles so many duties.

“I like being able to be connected to so many different places in the city,” Pulliam said during an interview Wednesday at the mayor’s second-floor administrative offices at City Hall.

Her job description includes just about anything the part-time Council needs. She handles the Council’s budget, travel itineraries and monitors e-mails sent to members from residents. She also lines up light meals for Council members before their regular twice-monthly meetings, and makes sure each member has a bottle of water at their respective Council seats.

“Most of them come right from work to the Council meetings,” Pulliam said.

Pulliam has found the Council easy to work with.

“They’re willing to work with each other and are considerate of each other,” she noted.

But it takes adjustments to work with the Council.

“The biggest challenge is to be flexible to meet the needs of all of them,” Pulliam said. “With seven Council members there are seven personalities. And I help Ben, Michelle and Toni coordinate their daily routines and schedules.”

The construction of the new $78.6 million Kent Events Center has given Pulliam plenty to do, assisting Wolters and Witham.

Pulliam handles contractors’ invoices related to the 6,025-seat arena, and earlier this year helped Wolters with the search for a management company to operate the center. Pulliam also helped Witham organize the first two public events at the arena: the groundbreaking ceremony last July as well as the topping-out ceremony last month when construction workers placed the final beam on the building before installing the roof.

“She’s one to jump in and help,” Witham said. “If she sees me buried in work, she jumps in. You don’t have to ask; she’s just on it.”

Pulliam grew up in Yakima and moved to the region in 1983 when her husband, Mike Pulliam, took a job as the city’s vegetation-management supervisor. He held that job for 22 years before retiring in 2003.

Julie Pulliam worked 10 years in the accounting department at Enumclaw Hospital before she joined the City of Kent in 2001 as a customer-service representative in the finance department. Pulliam later worked as a captain’s assistant in the police department before she was laid off during city cutbacks in 2003. She rejoined city staff about a year later as an administrative assistant.

On weekends, the couple, who live in Enumclaw and have two grown sons, take their five Australian cattle dogs to shows and competitions throughout Washington and Oregon. In one such event, the dogs must herd sheep through a course in a certain amount of time.

“We’re all aware of her dogs and shows and competitions,” Witham said. “We even have a calendar with the dogs hanging in the office.”

Pulliam proudly pointed out the calendar and quickly flipped through the pages of photos of Australian cattle dogs. She hopes one day she can get a dog into the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York.

“That’s the ‘away from work me’,” Pulliam said.

Contact Steve Hunter at 253-872-6600, ext. 5052 or shunter@reporternewspapers.com.

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