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Fred Podesta
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Dori: Shuffled bureaucrat Fred Podesta now heads operations at Seattle schools

Seattle City Hall. (File photo)

We did a story six months ago about a guy who gets shuffled from one city department to another here in Seattle. Last summer, Fred Podesta was named head of the city’s Navigation Team, which is supposed to deal with Seattle’s homelessness crisis.

I wanted to know what kind of background and expertise Fred Podesta had to direct the Navigation Team and face homeless problems head-on. And by the way, Fred — bang-up job with the homelessness crisis. I hardly ever see a homeless person on the streets downtown anymore.

Two-and-a-half years ago, former Mayor Ed Murray made him director of city operations, acting as a liaison between the mayor’s office and other departments. The next year, he became the head of the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services.

And last year, he moved over to head the Navigation Team.

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Guess what? Six months after his last bureaucrat job in the city, Fred Podesta has just been named the new chief operations officer of the Seattle School District.

Chief operations officer — that sure seems like a position that requires some expertise in education. Let me tell you a bit about becoming an expert in anything — it takes time.

When I first became a radio talk show host, I had no clue what I was doing. It has taken me 25 years of working very hard at my craft to become an expert. You can’t become an expert in something if all you do is move from one city bureaucrat job to another.

But that is what is going on in Seattle. When he was mayor, Ed Murray added 1,600 city employees, many of whom are bureaucrats making six figure salaries.

Check out this statement from Seattle Public Schools:

Following a nationwide search netting many highly-qualified applicants, Seattle Public Schools has hired an outstanding individual to become our chief operations officer. Fred Podesta brings years of experience to the district, having served the City of Seattle in several leadership roles.

What experience does Fred Podesta have to be chief operations officer of the Seattle School District? He’s the mayor’s liaison to other departments, then the head of the finance department, then the point person for homelessness — jobs that are only vaguely related to each other.

This will be the guy’s fifth job in the last two-and-a-half years; you can’t be an expert in anything other than being a bureaucrat.

That is what government is about. They feather their own nests. They take care of each other. We don’t know what he’s making, but the range for this position on the job posting was between $160,598 and $216,933.

He was making $195,000 when he was at the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, so we can assume that he’s getting the top end of the salary range at Seattle Public Schools.

No wonder our streets are riddled with homeless drug addicts. A guy who had no experience was made director of that department half a year ago — but then he left it to become chief operations officer of the Seattle schools. You can’t just hop from one thing to another to make $200,000 and still call yourself an expert at your job.

This is what we blow the whistle on all the time on our show. This is what you need to know about. Government inefficiency could not possibly be any worse around here.

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