Michael Grayum, Yelm’s new city administrator, worked part time for a few weeks in December before fully taking the helm last week.
His background is in public relations and government relations, and he’s the former managing partner for the Pando Consulting Group in Tacoma. He served as the mayor of the city of DuPont from 2012 to 2016.
“We’re very excited to have Michael coming on board,” said Yelm Mayor JW Foster.
The position was vacant for more than a year after longtime city administrator Shelly Badger resigned to take a job in the private sector.
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Yelm City Councilman Joe DePinto described Grayum as a “wonderful addition” to the city’s team.
“He has a wide range of leadership and work experience that complements his friendly personality,” DePinto said. “He has already shown his professionalism and ability to lead effectively in the short time he’s been here. I’m looking forward to working with Michael and seeing the great things he will do for our town.”
Grayum, 38, talked to The Olympian about his background and his new job. Here are excerpts of the conversation.
Q: First, tell us a little about yourself.
A: I grew up in Mill Creek, went to Cascade High School in Everett. I went to Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington. (He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from PLU and a master’s in public administration from UW.) I ran track and played football in college, and was involved in Young Life.
Involving youth and strengthening government and mentoring is something that is near and dear to my heart. I always look at opportunities to support the youth voice and help educate and empower young people.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Anything outdoors. I love to hike, ski and snowboard, and golf.
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: My wife, Jenny, and I have been married for 11 years. We have two kids, Kate and Brian. Kate is in first grade and Brian is in preschool.
We just recently moved to Tacoma a couple of months ago. … Ironically, if we would have stayed in DuPont, it would have been a much shorter commute for me.
Q: How’s the transition going?
A: The transition is going great. I’ve made it a priority to basically spend as much time with the mayor as possible. I’ve met with the majority of the council members and department heads. One of my priorities is to meet with every employee by the end of February. (The city has about 50 employees.)
I’m really impressed with the caliber and quality of the employees. Every one of them is really passionate about what they do and you can tell they genuinely care about the city.
Q: What are your top priorities?
A: First and foremost, my priority is to get to know the council and the mayor ... and get to know their priorities and help advance those.
A few of those priorities are strengthening public safety, improving public infrastructure, and supporting local businesses and fostering economic growth in the city.
Q: Is there anything that you’ve learned about Yelm in the past few weeks that you didn’t know before?
A: A lot. … I think the thing I’ve learned the most — that I’ve enjoyed the most — is how wonderful the food is here. There are so many boutiques and diners here. I found all of my Christmas gifts here, and the movie theater is fantastic.
Q: Is there anything else you would add?
A: I was a former city council member and mayor of DuPont. So in that vein, I think there are two things: One is my background and experience in working with state agencies and the Legislature. I’m able to understand and see things from the elected officials here and support their priorities, and at the same time support teamwork and a culture for the city’s employees.