Even as he's cutting the budget, Seattle's mayor has a new hire, a bicycle activist.
Mayor Mike McGinn is known for advocating for cyclists. Now, he's lured one of the city's best known bicycle boosters to work on transportation issues at city hall.
Cascade Bicycle Club advocacy director David Hiller will earn $95,000 a year in his new city job.
"We're not hiring anyone to be a bike czar," McGinn told News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM's Ross and Burbank Show. "We're hiring David to move our transportation agenda, which includes getting funding to take care of our streets, which includes getting seawall funded and on the ballot, which includes expansion of transit - all of the things I ran my campaign on."
Cascade Bicycle Club has more than 13,000 members. The outspoken Hiller, 41, spent almost eight years with the charitable foundation, founded in 2001. Cascade Bicycle Club helped the city of Seattle develop its Bicycle Master Plan.
Lately, Hiller lobbied in Olympia, pushing for passage of a Senate bill to stiffen penalties when drivers are negligent in the deaths of bicyclists and pedestrians.
"David has been a very successful bicycle advocate. We've got a pretty expansive agenda," said McGinn. "We're just hoping David's going to bring some of that passion and organizing ability and effectiveness that he brought to bicycling to all the mayor's agenda."
The mayor recently asked all city departments, including his own, to reduce their budgets by up to eight percent.
"This is an existing position," McGinn said. He insists that despite the budget cutbacks around the city that hiring Hiller was within his office's existing budget.
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