Seattle Councilmember asks for pause to KCRHA CEO search as candidates withdraw



(The Center Square) – Seattle City Councilmember Cathy Moore is asking the King County Regional Homelessness Authority to pause its search for a permanent CEO after more candidates back out of the hiring process.

KCRHA has been searching for a permanent CEO since Marc Dones stepped down from the position in May 2023 due to burnout.

The current Interim CEO Darrell Powell informed KCRHA of his decision to withdraw from the interview process in a May 16 letter. Powell cited issues with the agency’s three committee structure for why he withdrew his candidacy.

Powell has been joined by another candidate in withdrawing their candidacy, leaving only one of the three finalists for the permanent CEO position left for consideration. In turn, Moore, who is a member of the KCRHA’s Governing Committee and CEO Search Committee, wants the agency to pause the search and reassess.

“When two out of the three finalists you’re interviewing withdraw their candidacy in close succession, it’s clear there is a larger problem,” Moore said in a statement. “Given the myriad of challenges facing KCRHA, it is imperative that we make the best hiring decision.”

According to a press release from Moore’s office, the CEO search process has involved numerous leaks about confidential information despite all search committee members signing confidentiality agreements with at least one of the finalists citing those breaches of confidentiality in their withdrawal from consideration.

Moore added that some CEO Search Committee members were not notified of the candidacy withdrawals until the day before the final interview was scheduled and others reported not being notified at all.

KCRHA has three separate boards that have oversight authority: the governing committee, the implementation board, and the Seattle King County Continuum of Care Board, which is in charge of applying for federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for homelessness assistance.

In Powell’s letter, he noted that the KCRHA’s three dozen-some members across three committees cause competing approaches and adversarial philosophies.

KCRHA previously told The Center Square that it was in the process of combining the governing committee and implementation board.

The KCRHA CEO Search Committee told The Center Square in an email that it is not uncommon for finalist candidates to withdraw from the hiring process when it comes to filling a CEO position at a large, complex agency.

“The final candidate is qualified and enthusiastic about leading the regional effort to address homelessness in King County,” the search committee stated. “We are interviewing the remaining candidate with the same rigor and standards we would for any finalist and are committed to selecting the right person for this position.”

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