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Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces New Department Appointment at the Human Services Department

Durkan Recognizes Lester for Strong Leadership at HSD

Seattle (March 15, 2018) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the resignation of the Human Services Department’s Director Catherine Lester, who is returning to her family in Toronto, Canada after seven years with the department. To replace Lester, Mayor Durkan announced the appointment of Interim Director Jason Johnson, effective in May 2018.

“Catherine’s tenacity and laser-like focus on results have helped victims of domestic violence, Seattle’s youth, vulnerable seniors, and tens of thousands of people experiencing homelessness – her leadership and compassion will be missed,” said Durkan. “She leads a department that is addressing our city’s most urgent challenge, and following her departure, I know Jason will continue HSD’s important work to move people out of tents, shelters and transitional housing into permanent homes.”

“I am heartened by the vision and leadership Mayor Durkan is bringing to our city, and her commitment to the department’s mission and contributions,” said Lester. “This decision was both difficult and personal, and I appreciate the support of the Mayor and of my colleagues.”

Mayor Durkan announced that Jason Johnson will serve as Interim Acting Director, effective May 2, 2018. Johnson, who joined the Human Services Department in 2013, currently serves as the Deputy Director. Following the recommendations of One Table in May, Mayor Durkan will announce the next steps for a permanent leader of Seattle’s Human Services Department.

“Of course, we are very sad that Catherine is leaving, but we fully support her decision to prioritize family at this time,” said Johnson. “I want to thank Mayor Durkan for her continuing support of the Department. I’ve met with staff and we remain committed to our focus on results, racial equity and moving the work forward.”