The Yakima City Council has taken the first step in the process of transitioning to a new city manager in light of the pending departure of current city manager Tony O’Rourke.
At a special meeting on Friday, October 30th, the Council named current Yakima City Attorney Jeff Cutter as the interim city manager effective November 1st. The Council also decided to establish a committee of newly elected Council members following the November 3rd general election to determine how the search for a permanent replacement for O’Rourke will take place.
Cutter will work side by side with O’Rourke for the next couple of months to ensure a smooth transition. Cutter came to work for the City in 1997 as a prosecutor, was promoted to senior assistant city attorney in 2005, and was chosen to be city attorney in 2009.
O’Rourke was hired as Yakima City Manager in July 2012. Before coming to Yakima, O’Rourke had served as city manager in South Lake Tahoe, California. Before that he was the executive director of Beaver Creek Resort Company, a private corporation that operates an alpine resort community. O’Rourke has also held several other positions in city government, including as the city manager of Coral Springs, Florida.
Senior Assistant City Attorney Mark Kunkler will likely take over as city attorney while Cutter serves as interim city manager. Kunkler was hired in 1992 by the City of Sunnyside to be its city attorney. In 2003, Kunkler also took on the duties of assistant city manager and his title was changed to reflect his additional responsibilities. On four separate occasions between 1999 and 2009, Kunkler served as interim city manager for Sunnyside. Prior to being hired by Sunnyside, Kunkler worked in private practice.
The process of selecting a new city manager could take several months to complete. The newly-elected Council members, who take office as of the first of the year, will ultimately choose the next Yakima city manager.
Jeff Cutter Named Interim Yakima City Manager – News Release