PORT ANGELES — After deciding earlier this year to leave the temporary Community Development director in place since the newly elected replacement would be taking office soon, the county commissioners had a change of heart.
The commissioners unanimously selected Bruce Emery — who is set to take office officially during the first week of January — as the acting Community Development director at their Monday work session.
“We had to do it to hit all the process points,” Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias said. “Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols said we should hit all the process points rather than just having a general discussion. So we reviewed the five applications and the only one we met with was Bruce Emery.”
Ozias said redoing the selection process had nothing to do with the county’s recent legal settlement with former Director of Community Development Mary Ellen Winborn. The county had taken legal action against Winborn in July after she moved to Mississippi in May but continued to perform her DCD duties remotely, staying in the county one day a month.
“The general conversation was helpful, but we needed an actual director as soon as possible,” Ozias said.
County Commissioner Randy Johnson said: “I appreciate us following the process.”
A three- to five-person committee normally develops a process for producing one or more recommendations to fill the vacancy on a temporary basis.
This application review committee consisted of county administrator Rich Sill, County Health and Human Services Director Kevin LoPiccolo and Richard Meier, who was appointed Aug. 2 as the interim Department of Community Development administrative manager.
Meier is a former code enforcement officer who most recently served as a supervising analyst for the board of commissioners.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.