Two new city of Kent department directors to begin jobs

Painter, Smith previously worked for Kent

Two new city of Kent department directors will begin their jobs next week in finance and human resources.

Paula Painter replaces Aaron BeMiller as finance director while Teri Smith replaces Marty Fisher as human resources director. Painter and Smith each previously worked for the city of Kent.

Painter left a job as a city of Tacoma senior financial manager to return to Kent. Painter worked for the Kent Finance Department from 1997 to 2014. She had a variety of roles, including assistant finance director and interim finance director. She left Kent to work for the cites of DuPont and Auburn before going to Tacoma.

“We are excited about the experience Paula brings to the role, and we know she’ll continue to move the Finance Department forward,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph in a news release. “Paula’s institutional knowledge of our city, combined with innovative and fresh ideas, make her a great fit to be our next finance director.”

As mayor, Ralph has the authority to hire and fire city department heads.

Painter, who is a certified public accountant, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Central Washington University in Ellensburg. In 2015, she graduated from the Auburn-based Leadership Institute of the South Puget Sound.

Sixteen people applied for the finance director position, said Dana Neuts, city communications manager. Painter will make $165,000 per year.

“I’m thrilled to return to the city of Kent,” Painter said. “Kent has always been a place I consider home because it is where I began my career in city government. I hold many fond memories from my years of service to the city and built many meaningful friendships along the way. I am excited to get to work.”

BeMiller resigned as finance director in March after nearly five years in Kent. He said the long hours and the work took a toll on him emotionally and physically.

Smith returns to Kent

Smith comes to Kent after two years as the city of Lake Stevens human resources director. She previously held human resources management positions for the Snohomish Health District, City of Monroe and Yuba County in Marysville, Calif. She worked for the city of Kent as a labor relations manager from 2011 to 2014.

“Teri’s breadth of experience in HR will be a welcome asset as she helps set the tone for the department,” Ralph said. “She has the leadership skills and background to lead and guide the team into the future.”

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana in Missoula.

“I was attracted to the HR director position at Kent because I started my public sector career in Kent in 2001 and served the city for almost nine years as an HR analyst and labor relations manager,” Smith said. “The director position was a terrific opportunity for me to give back to Kent for the terrific start as a public servant.”

Thirty-one people applied for the position, Neuts said. Smith will be paid $165,000 per year.

Fisher resigned in March as human resources director after three years with the city.

Kent hired both directors after an extensive recruitment process. The city paid $45,000 to California-based Peckham & McKenney Inc., an executive search firm, to help find candidates.

Painter and Smith officially start their jobs Sept. 3.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with information that the mayor hires city department heads.

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