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Originally published November 5, 2009 at 12:12 AM | Page modified November 5, 2009 at 11:12 PM

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County executive-elect Constantine names team

King County executive-elect Dow Constantine named state Sen. Fred Jarrett and affordable-housing developer Hyeok Kim co-chairs of his transition team Wednesday as his opponent, Susan Hutchison, conceded defeat.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Video | Election Night: Dow Constatine

Video | Election Night: Susan Hutchison

King County executive-elect Dow Constantine named key members of his transition committee Wednesday as his opponent, Susan Hutchison, conceded defeat.

Constantine, chairman of the Metropolitan King County Council, is putting a team in place to help him fill the key positions in his administration before he takes office Nov. 24.

State Sen. Fred Jarrett and affordable-housing developer Hyeok Kim will co-chair the transition committee, Constantine said.

Jarrett, a former mayor of Mercer Island, ran against Constantine in the eight-way primary for county executive. Jarrett said Wednesday he had told Constantine he was "eager to help in any way that I can. It's really important that he can be successful."

Kim is executive director of Inter*Im Community Development Agency, a nonprofit that develops affordable housing in the Chinatown International District.

Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis and Constantine's campaign consultant, Christian Sinderman, also will be involved in the transition, "more or less on a staff level," Constantine said.

"Especially with this short time period, we need somebody who's gone through these transitions to avoid missteps," Constantine said. "Tim has helped with several major transitions in city, county and state government."

Constantine said he expects to name the full transition team today and to fill key positions by the end of next week. Some staffers appointed by the current county executive will be kept on, others replaced, and some interim appointments may be made.

Constantine and County Executive Kurt Triplett said Triplett may stay on for a limited period to help with the transition, but both said they don't expect him to stay on indefinitely. Triplett, who was chief of staff to then-Executive Ron Sims, was appointed executive in May when Sims resigned to take a ranking position in the Obama administration.

Triplett has created space for the transition team in the county's Chinook Building, and he said he's been preparing for the changeover since the County Council appointed him executive. "I have a folder for everything you have to do on your first day, including line of succession."

Hutchison conceded Constantine's victory after he widened his lead when more than 50,000 more votes were counted Wednesday afternoon. He had 57.5 percent of the votes, to her 42.3 percent.

"Because the new executive has only a few weeks until taking office, I want him to be able to move forward quickly to accomplish an orderly transition," Hutchison said in a written statement.

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Upon taking office, Constantine will have to deal with the H1N1 flu pandemic, possible flooding in the Green River Valley and the need to balance the budget in the face of declining revenues.

"I'm clear that we're first and foremost going to be on top of these emergent issues, but I'm not going to be limited only to those issues because we have a reform agenda," Constantine said. He said he will be instituting "performance-based" management and working for local economic recovery.

He said he also will launch a "customer-service initiative" in the Department of Development and Environmental Services and other departments.

"I'm not going to tolerate anybody who is not ready to get on board with this spirit of service or with our commitment to reform," he said. "There's not going to be any foot-dragging here."

Constantine will be sworn in after the election results are certified by the county Canvassing Board on Nov. 24.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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