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Council to hire new parks director

The Bremerton City Council Wednesday got its first handshakes with Parks and Recreation Director frontrunner Wyn Birkenthal. The council is scheduled to confirm the hiring of Birkenthal at its April 26 meeting.

Birkenthal has more than 20 years working for the public sector and leaves his most recent post as Richland’s parks and recreation director, which he has held for the past six years.

Among his duties overseeing the 2,500 acre park system, he worked to redevelop a 40-acre river front park that included $9.5 million in improvements.

From 1991 to 2000 Birkenthal served as parks and recreation director for Spokane County. Prior to that he worked for the City of Bellevue’s parks department coordinating public information and working with the media. He also served as director for the One Bellevue Center YMCA from 1983-1984.

Birkenthal received a bachelor of science from the University of Oregon in 1979.

Forty-seven applications were submitted for the position, of which six people were interviewed, said Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman.

He selected three finalists but felt Birkenthal was “by far the strongest candidate.”

Wednesday was Birkenthal’s third visit to Bremerton in the past month. He said the area is a stark contrast to the Eastern Washington landscape.

“I’m enjoying what I see here,” Birkenthal told the council during its pre-meeting study session.

If confirmed by the council, Birkenthal would start his new job June 5 with an annual salary of about $105,000. Birkenthal replaces Ken Mickelson who resigned in January.

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