Forum set for Jefferson County administrator finalists

Three candidates to interview Friday

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County commissioners will publicly interview the finalists for county administrator on Friday.

Each of the three finalists will present their visions for rural counties over the next five to 10 years. A question-and-answer session with the commissioners will follow.

After the presentations and interviews, the commissioners will enter into executive session to discuss the candidates’ qualifications privately. They may either select a candidate to enter into hiring negotiations or decide to narrow the field, according to the agenda for Friday’s meeting.

Before the commissioners’ meeting on Friday, the candidates will be interviewed by small groups of selected community stakeholders.

The county administrator handles many of the executive functions of government and is appointed by the county commissioners to implement policies that they establish, according to a press release from the county.

Former County Administrator Philip Morley resigned at the end of April after more than 12 years. Mark McCauley, county central services director, has been serving in the interim.

Presentations will be from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. The public can view the discussion here. Follow the link “Videos of Meetings” under the “Quick links” section and click on “Streaming Live.”

Board Chair Kate Dean may take questions from viewers, the county said.

To potentially participate in the meeting, the public will either need to join via Zoom here or call 1-253-215-8782 and use webinar ID 937-7784-1705#.

Commissioners are scheduled to be in executive session from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and will reconvene in public session for final discussion starting at 4:30 p.m., according to the meeting agenda.

“We are excited to bring new leadership at this time of change and uncertainty in the county,” Dean said in a press release.

“We hope to find an applicant with a shared vision of innovation and livability for our unique, rural county.”

The finalists are Martin Casey, Richard Kuhns and Ethan Raup.

Casey recently served as the city manager of Sunnyside. Before that, he was the director of the Central Services Department for Thurston County from 2013 to 2018. He served in state departments from 1997 to 2013, beginning with a position within the Human Rights Commission and including leadership positions within the departments of Early Learning, General Administration and Enterprise Services, according to the press release.

Casey has a master’s degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Kuhns has served as county administrative officer for Trinity County in California since 2017. Prior to that, he was concurrently regional director of the Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, Modoc County Housing Authority and the executive director for the Shasta County Community Action Agency from 2006-2017, the press release said.

Kuhns also has been a practicing psychologist in both private practice and county government and has a doctorate in psychology from California Southern University.

Raup currently works for KEXP, a public radio station in Seattle, as the chief operations officer and chief of staff. He has worked for the station since 2014. From 2010-14, he was the director of policy and operations for the City of Seattle, reporting directly to the mayor, the press release said.

Raup has a master’s in sociology of law from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

The meeting will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a challenging time to provide the kind of public, transparent process that we like to see when hiring an important position such as this,” Dean said.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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