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Council President González, City Council Welcome New Central Staff Director Esther Handy to Legislative Department

Council President M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), alongside her Council colleagues, announced the hiring of Esther Handy as the Legislative Department’s new Central Staff Director. Handy will lead Central Staff analysts who advise on policy and develop legislation on behalf of the City Council.  

Handy currently serves as Interim Executive Director of Puget Sound Sage and previously worked as the Deputy Director of Progress Alliance. Handy is returning to the Legislative Department where she previously worked as a Legislative Aide and Chief of Staff for Councilmember Mike O’Brien from 2010 to 2015.  

“I’m pleased that our extensive recruitment and hiring process led us to the selection of Esther Handy as the next Central Staff Director. I’m thrilled to welcome Esther back to the City family and know she has the experience and the institutional knowledge to lead the Central Staff Division. Our Central Staff is integral in the City Council’s efforts to advance legislation and adopt the City’s budget. None of the Council’s policy accomplishments, from advancing worker protections to funding affordable housing and reforming our tax system, could be accomplished without the diligent effort of our talented Central Staff. Esther espouses strong leadership values grounded in communication, collaboration, and inclusivity, and she will help further the Council’s racial equity goals. I look forward to working with Esther and know she’ll be a strong asset to the City Council now and in the future,” González said.    

The Council President’s Office conducted a robust hiring process, seeking feedback from Councilmembers and Legislative Department staff to develop the job description, identify candidates, and evaluate a strong pool of applicants.  

“I’m delighted to return to the City this fall to lead the incredibly talented Central Staff team,” said Esther Handy. “The City Council is tackling our community’s toughest issues, and I’m eager to continue building a team that consistently offers creative, effective policy solutions that reduce inequities and move our City forward.” 

González also expressed gratitude for Dan Eder, who has served as Interim Director since September 2020, and will be returning to his role as Central Staff Deputy Director. Eder provided steadfast leadership and guidance to the City Council during the last year under incredibly challenging circumstances stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis and a racial reckoning. 

“Dan, along with Policy and Budget Manager Aly Pennucci and the rest of the Central Staff team, made important contributions and went above and beyond the call of duty to serve the City Council and the people of Seattle during this challenging last year. I look forward to continuing to work with Dan, who is a true servant leader, as he returns to his permanent role as Deputy Director,” González said.    Handy will begin her new role at the City on Monday, September 13, 2021. 

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