By Cheyna Kiakona
UW News Lab

Mayor of Tukwila Thomas McLeod presented his first State of the City address at Monday night’s (April 15, 2024) regular city council meeting to mark his first 100 days in office.

“Tonight, our goal is to update you on the work being done in the city and to share a vision for 2024,” Mayor McLeod said.

The last time a Tukwila mayor gave a State of the City address was in 2015. Mayor McLeod was elected to the position in November, 2023, and took office on Jan. 1, 2024.

In his address, the mayor confirmed that the Tukwila Police Department is now fully staffed for the first time in 20 years. The police swore in four new officers in February who will be deployable in June.

“They continue to look for processes that will include the community,” Mayor McLeod said. “To that point, Tukwila Police Department continues to evolve and reimagine their role of law enforcement.”

One example the mayor gave was officially restoring school resource officers to Foster High School and Showalter Middle School starting next school year.

Public comments were made by the Showalter Middle School staff earlier this year surrounding the need for school resource officers at a Jan. 23 meeting for the Tukwila School District Board of Directors. The comments followed a recent uptick in violent incidents in the community, including a nearby armed robbery that put both schools into a modified lockdown in November of last year.

The mayor thanked the staff of Tukwila and the present and past councils for their service before moving to announce the new appointments to the city’s government. The change in administration was one of his first moves as mayor toward greater customer service, accountability and community values.

The three members appointed were Brandon Miles to Government Relations and Director of Strategic Initiatives, Pete Mayer to Deputy City Administrator and Marty Wine to City Administrator.

About Wine, Mayor McLeod said, “She brings a fresh set of eyes and experience to assist our organizational change.”

In his address, Mayor McLeod also explained the city’s new strategy for economic development in 2025-2026, including program-based budgeting. The strategy evaluates individual programs and services rather than entire departments to better show how financial resources are allocated.

These rankings are determined by how much the program both serves and relies on the community and whether the program is based on community or governance. According to the city’s most recent financial review, departments such as the police and public works receive more funding, while others like the mayor and council receive less.

The mayor closed his address by asking the council and community stakeholders what they believe the purpose is in having these discussions. He referenced the city’s 2017 adoption of Resolution 1921, an equity policy that guides elected city members to lead with an equity lens when making decisions.

“As we go forward in 2024 to build a sustainable budget, may we do so with a lens that gives everyone access to opportunity,” Mayor McLeod said. “If there’s one thought to sum up my vision for 2024, it is equal access to opportunity.”

Mayor of Tukwila, Thomas McLeod, convenes the 7 p.m. regular meeting for the Tukwila City Council on Monday, April 15. The mayor delivered his first State of the City address later in the night to mark his first 100 days of office.


Cheyna Kiakona is a UW Journalism News Lab reporter.