Michael Morales, who has worked for the City of Yakima in various capacities over the past 15 years, including as interim city manager since January of this year, has submitted his resignation to the City Council effective Friday, June 29th.
Morales has not applied for nor accepted another job. He plans to take a few months off before pursuing other employment.
“I’m at a point in my career where I feel like I need to take some time to assess what my next step should be,” said Morales. “I’ve grown a lot and gained invaluable experience during my time at the City of Yakima. Serving as assistant city manager and interim city manager over the last year-and-a-half has been especially beneficial to me because I’ve gotten to test my leadership skills under challenging circumstances,” said Morales. “I’m looking forward to whatever the future holds for me and my family.”
Morales, who was born and raised in Grandview, joined the City in 1997 as a grants writer. In 2004, he became an economic development and community affairs specialist and was assigned new intergovernmental and legislative duties. Then, in 2006, Morales became the deputy community and economic development director with a range of responsibilities including overseeing the Engineering Division and the Office of Neighborhood Development. In April 2010, he became the City’s community and economic development director.
In early 2011 while former city manager Dick Zais was recovering from a serious illness, Morales served as acting city manager for nearly two months. When Zais returned to work in late February, he appointed Morales as acting assistant city manager. In June 2011, Zais removed the “acting” tag from Morales’ title. Then, after Zais retired in July 2011, Morales served as interim city manager until Don Cooper assumed the role of city manager in September of that year. When Cooper resigned from his position in late December 2011, the City Council named Morales interim city manager while it conducted a search for Cooper’s replacement that resulted in the hiring of Tony O’Rourke, whose first official day on the job will be July 2nd.
Before coming to Yakima, Morales worked in South Texas for the Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone and was responsible for strategic planning, policy development, and implementation of a $40 million federal economic development initiative; one of only three in the nation. Prior to that, he was an economic development specialist for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council. Morales began his professional career as a staff member with the Washington State Migrant Council.
Morales graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1993, and has done extensive coursework through the UW’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, including the Cascade Management Series (2000-02) and the Executive MPA program (2003-05).