UPDATE | Search for new Jefferson County administrator may start over after top pick declines job offer

Posted 10/21/21

The top choice for the post of county administrator for Jefferson County has told officials he's no longer interested in the job.

County Commissioner Kate Dean told staff in an email Wednesday …

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UPDATE | Search for new Jefferson County administrator may start over after top pick declines job offer

Posted

The top choice for the post of county administrator for Jefferson County has told officials he's no longer interested in the job.

County Commissioner Kate Dean told staff in an email Wednesday that Ethan Raup had declined the county's employment offer.

Raup, 51, is currently the chief operating officer and chief of staff at KEXP, a public radio station in Seattle. He was one of three finalists for the position, and commissioners agreed earlier this month to begin contract negotiations to bring Raup aboard as the next county administrator.

"While working through myriad complexities in making a final decision over the past week and a half, it became clear that his work at KEXP was not finished," Dean said in her email to staff. "He asked me to pass along to you that it was a very difficult decision due to the welcoming enthusiasm he received here during the interview and deliberation process."

Dean added that the board of commissioners was  "very disappointed," adding "in large part because there was a strong (though not 100 percent) consensus that Ethan was the right candidate."

The county is planning to continue talks with Prothman, an executive search firm based in Issaquah which has served as the county's consultant firm for finding management employees, about next steps.

Raup was the finalist of three candidates for the administrator job; the other finalists were Martin Casey, the former city manager of Sunnyside, and Richard Kuhns, the county administrative officer for Trinity County, California.

Dean said in emails to staff Wednesday that the other two finalists would not be reconsidered for the job.

Dean said she was also disappointed that Raup was no longer interested in the job.

"After much negotiation and deliberation, he came to the conclusion that he was not prepared to leave his position at KEXP. While I am sorely disappointed, I know that this was a complicated decision for Ethan and ultimately want an administrator that is fully ready and invested in this community," Dean wrote.

Dean said a new search headed up by the county's recruiting firm may be a possibility.

"With holidays upcoming, we anticipate that a new search could take some time. We are glad to have [interim administrator] Mark McCauley holding the ship steady in the meantime," the commissioner said in an email to staff. 

"Thank you all for your patience as we seek to find the right fit for the important role," she added. "I am amazed at how smoothly all of you have all sustained operations in the midst of a global pandemic and many months now with an interim administrator. It speaks volumes about your hard work and willingness to pivot with ever-changing demands and mandates. Jefferson County has remained one of the safest places to work and live throughout COVID — I hope you take some pride in this."

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