The Yakima City Council gave City Manager Tony O’Rourke solid marks across the board during an evaluation of O’Rourke’s performance that took place before today’s City Council business meeting.
“The Council was enthusiastic about the new energy and ideas that Tony brought to the table when he was hired last July,” said Mayor Micah Cawley. “Now, after a year’s worth of work to judge from, we are confident that he’s the right guy for the job. He’s brought about a lot of change in the City’s structure and has led the organization in a new direction,” said Cawley. “The process hasn’t been easy, but through Tony’s leadership, the City Council knows that Yakima will continue moving forward and making progress.”
O’Rourke began his tenure in July of 2012 and since then has successfully negotiated several labor contracts, realigned the City’s organizational structure to make it more flexible and responsive, instituted programs and services based on community needs as determined by results of citizen surveys, and has convinced the Council to make investments to improve public safety, enhance economic development opportunities, and address infrastructure needs.
O’Rourke was chosen unanimously by the City Council for the city manager position from a group of five finalists after a national search. O’Rourke succeeded Don Cooper who took the job in September 2011 after longtime city manager Dick Zais retired earlier in the year. Cooper, however, resigned at the end of December 2012 in order to care for his ailing wife who still lived in Port St.Lucie, Florida where Cooper had spent much of his professional career.
Just prior to coming to Yakima, O’Rourke had been the city manager in South Lake Tahoe, California. Before taking the job in South Lake Tahoe in August 2010, O’Rourke had been the executive director of Beaver Creek Resort Company since 1996. In his role with Beaver Creek Resort Company, O’Rourke served as the chief executive of the private corporation that operates an alpine resort which hosts an average of more than three million guests each year and generates more than $400 million in annual sales.
After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1977 with a bachelor of arts political science degree, O’Rourke began his public service career in Isla Vista, California as a community development director. In 1981, O’Rourke earned a masters degree in urban and regional planning from CornellUniversity in Ithaca, New York. From 1981 to 1983, he was an administrative assistant to the deputy city manager and fire chief in Dallas, Texas. In 1983, O’Rourke went to work for Richardson, Texas as an administrative assistant to the city manager and became the assistant to the city manager in Richardson two years later. In 1989, he became the assistant city manager in Coral Springs, Florida and in 1992 was promoted to Corals Springs city manager, a position he held until he joined Beaver Creek Resort Company.
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Mayor Micah Cawley – 575-6040
Communications & Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler – 901-1142