Seattle City Council creates Department of Community Development, General Services Department, and Personnel Office on February 3, 1969.

  • By Alan J Stein
  • Posted 5/31/1999
  • Essay 1178

On February 3, 1969, the Seattle City Council approves the creation of the Department of Community Development, the General Services Department, and the Personnel Office as part of a major administrative reform. This is the first creation of municipal subdivisions in 30 years.

Brewster Denny (1924-2013), deanĀ of the University of Washington Graduate School of Public Affairs and chairman of the City Charter Advisory Committee, which proposed the changes, said that the new departments would consolidate and streamline city government.

The Department of Community Development was established to administer the city's comprehensive plan, to review the administration of city building codes and hear building code infractions, and to manage urban renewal and neighborhood planning. The Department of General Services was organized to manage the city's vehicle fleet, automated data processing (previously handled by City Light), and other miscellaneous services. The Personnel Office was assigned to improve personnel administration and standards and to develop training programs.

In November 1967, Seattle voters had approved charter amendments that permitted these changes. Mayor J. D. Braman (1901-1980) and the League of Women Voters supported the Council action.


Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 265; The Seattle Times, February 4, 1969, p. 2; Seattle Post-Intelligencer February 4, 1969, p. 1.
Note: This essay was updated on June 25, 2013.

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