Diana Hadden Gale, a leader in solid waste management in Seattle, graduated from Wellesley in 1963 with a degree in political science and history. She received her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in urban planning from the University of Washington.
Gale has been active in governmental service and reform since the 1970s. While she was a member of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee for the Seattle School District, she developed a school finance reform proposal. This reform system is currently a model for full funding of education at the state level. She began working for the city of Seattle in 1977 as a legislative assistant for the utilities committee, and within a few years, she became the policy director and then the executive director for the legislative department. In this capacity, she developed the City Council’s annual work program, and she managed all work done on major city policy and finance decisions.
In 1987, Gale became the director of the Solid Waste Utility, and she developed a plan to divert 60 percent of waste to recycling by 1998. To make this plan economically feasible, Gale reorganized the city’s trash-handling system to make recycling easier for the public. By 1995, Seattle’s population increased by 5 percent, but waste sent to landfills decreased by 8.5 percent.
Due to her many accomplishments, Gale was appointed to several other executive positions with the city of Seattle, including the budget director, the superintendent of the water department, and the director of Seattle Public Utilities. She was also named one of ten Public Officials of the Year in 1999. She left the city of Seattle, and is now the faculty chair of executive education and a senior lecturer at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs.
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