City of Oak Harbor hires new development services director

After a series of interviews, David Kuhl has emerged as the City of Oak Harbor’s new development services director.

Kuhl was selected over two other finalists for the position left vacant following the departure of Steve Powers earlier this year.

Kuhl will assume the position starting Aug. 31, taking over from Cac Kamak, who has been serving as interim director.

Kuhl said he hopes to synthesize what he has learned from his past supervisors with his own style of management.

“My style is an empowerment style,” Kuhl said.

“I’ll try to empower the staff by listening to what their goals are and trying to help them achieve their career goals.”

His first order of business, Kuhl said, is to familiarize himself with the community and the various departments.

Then, he said he’ll learn the various policies and procedures while working with the mayor to determine what could possibly be changed.

He’s already met with the Public Works Engineering division.

“They actually invited the Planning Department to sit in on their capital projects meeting, which I thought was great,” Kuhl said. “I haven’t seen that in the past in places I’ve worked. I think that’s a great opportunity for us to participate as planners at the very beginning of capital projects.”

His 30-year career in government planning stretches from Arizona to Washington state. Most recently, Kuhl was community development director for Chelan County, where he oversaw 24 employees and managed a budget of $3 million.

He will have an hour drive from where he lives in Arlington, but he said he’s looking forward to working with the city staff.

“I was really impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the professionalism of the way I’ve been treated so far from the human resources department,“ Kuhl said.

He added that he was also impressed with the policy manual.