PORT ANGELES — All four finalists for Clallam County administrator have some degree of controversy in their careers.
News stories and candidate review packets note accusations against out-of-town aspirants for the position while an applicant from Sequim lacks the decade of experience required in the job description.
Job candidates Dean Brookshier, Keith Campbell, David Fraser and Colleen McAleer will attend a “community meet-and-greet” of one-on-one conversations with the public from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday in the hearing room at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles, in the only direct inquiries the public will engage in with those who aspire to replace Jim Jones, who is retiring.
A community review panel will interview them individually in 45-minute segments from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Friday, also in the hearing room, in a meeting that the public can observe.
No questions from the public will be taken.
The meet-and-greet and panel interviews will be live-streamed at www.clallam.net before commissioners deliberate in executive session on Jones’ successor between 2:45 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday.
Confidential “Finalist Candidate Review” packets that include their applications, emailed to county department heads Thursday, were obtained by Peninsula Daily News.
They include the question: “What will we find in an internet search of press coverage that may be controversial or of concern to the county? Please provide whatever explanation you think is appropriate to help us understand what we will find.”
The position will pay between $130,201 and $158,652 annually.
Here is some background on the applicants:
• Dean Brookshier, a former Clay County, Mo., administrator: A performance audit requested June 29 by more than 9,000 petitioners of the Kansas state Auditor’s Office did not have anything to do with Brookshier’s July 18 resignation, he said Friday.
It was preceded by more than a dozen whistleblower contacts with the agency about Clay County government,according to the Kansas City Star. (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-AuditRequest).
Allegations include records tampering by a county employee, nonpayment of county electric bills, payment of $550,000 on legal fees with more than a dozen law firms, and invoices for $600 coffeepots. The elected county commissioners ceded power in several areas to Brookshier in 2016, according to the Kansas City Star. (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-allegations)
Brookshier resigned July 18 with a severance package of more than $240,000, according to KCUR 89.3. (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-Severance).
Brookshier said Friday a non-disparagement agreement with Clay County prevents him from commenting on the allegations in the petition.
“I can tell you this,” he said. “I did not resign because of the audit.”
Brookshier was hired by Clay County in 2011 after — according to the Chillicothe News — he was asked to resign as Chillicothe, Mo. city administrator, a position in his home town that he had held since 2007 (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-Resignation).
Four of five City Council members had just been elected before his departure, he said Friday.
“They wanted their own city administrator,” he said.
• Keith Campbell, current city manager, Stayton, Ore.: Campbell’s authority was affirmed by the Stayton City Council in 2016 following an investigation into city personnel disputes. (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-Campbell).
Allegations against Campbell focused on Campbell’s management style and temperament and alleged that he targeted employees.
“The inquiry did not find that Mr. Campbell has engaged in conduct that is in violation of city policy or law or inconsistent with the general expectations of reasonable municipal employer (although) his communication and management style can be perceived as harsh and direct,” according to a law firm’s report on the allegations, as quoted by The Stayton Mail weekly newspaper.
Campbell did not return calls for comment Thursday and Friday.
“The charges against me were unfounded,” he said in his application.
• David Fraser, a senior associate, Municipal Solutions public-sector consulting agency, Goodyear, Ariz.: Fraser was city manager for Boulder City, Nev. until June 2017.
That was nine months after he was criticized by elected Boulder City Mayor Rod Woodbury at a City Council meeting during a performance review, which under state law in Nevada must be done in public, according to the Boulder City Review. (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-FraserReview).
Woodbury said Fraser’s project updates were not timely and that Fraser was unwilling to delegate.
Fraser resigned four months after the city attorney resigned.
The state Ethics Commission also required the City Council and staff members to take ethics training for the second time, according to KLAS-TV of Las Vegas, Nev. (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-Ethics).
“While in Boulder City, I received high marks in all my evaluations,” Fraser said in his application.
“However, in one of my evaluations, the Mayor went on a bit of an unfair rant; which, of course made the local newspaper.”
Fraser said Thursday that he believed the newspaper did not give a fair account of the meeting.
• Colleen McAleer, Port of Port Angeles commissioner: McAleer, a Sequim resident and the only North Olympic Peninsula applicant, has been a port commissioner since 2014 and was port director of business development from November 2011-January 2014.
McAleer filed an internal whistleblower complaint to then-Port Executive Director Jeff Robb about Robb, she said in her application, an issue she said she anticipated the commissioners were familiar with.
“I had hoped to keep the issues internal to the port,” she said in her application.
“In 2014 the state Auditor confirmed the findings of my initial concern.”
The Texas-based executive search firm Strategic Government Resources sought applicants for the administrator position which under a $27,000 contract with the county.
SGR’s seven-page job description said “candidates must have at least 10 years of experience in managerial, financial and executive level decision making in local government.”
McAleer “has over five years of local government experience,” according to the county press release last week announcing the finalists.
McAleer said she checked with county officials who said the 10-year threshold should not be an impediment to her applying for the position.
Ozias, who represents Sequim, said the other three candidates do each have at least a decade of working in government.
McAleer’s background “does not match the desired experience as expressed,” Ozias said.
“The strength of her application and materials so far have warranted her inclusion as a finalist.”
Jones, the county’s top executive since 2006, will resign by Oct. 31.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].