UPDATE | Three finalists interview for top county position

Posted 10/8/21

Jefferson County announced the three finalists for the position of county administrator Monday.

The three candidates are Martin Casey, Ethan Raup, and Richard Kuhns.

Two of the finalists are …

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UPDATE | Three finalists interview for top county position

Posted

Jefferson County announced the three finalists for the position of county administrator Monday.

The three candidates are Martin Casey, Ethan Raup, and Richard Kuhns.

Two of the finalists are from Washington state, while the third is from California.

County commissioners will interview the trio during a special meeting Friday.

The meeting, to be held online via Zoom, is planned for 2 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 8.

The new administrator will take over the county’s top non-elected position from Mark McCauley, who has served as interim administrator since the resignation of Philip Morley in April.

“We are excited to bring new leadership at this time of change and uncertainty in the county,” County Commissioner Kate Dean said in an announcement Monday.

“We hope to find an applicant with a shared vision of innovation and livability for our unique, rural county,” said Dean, the chair of the board of commissioners that will appoint the next administrator.

According to county officials, the three finalists will take part in small group interviews with community members throughout Friday.

The Zoom presentation planned for Friday afternoon will give the public a chance to hear from the candidates.

“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 noted.  

Approximately 15 people applied for the job, she said.

“One of my biggest priorities was to produce a diverse pool of candidates, which we did not end up with, unfortunately,” she added.

“I would love to see more women and people of color in the mix,” Dean said.

The candidates have been throughly vetted, the commissioner said, though final reference checks are still pending.

Casey was the city manager in Sunnyside from January 2019 through August, and announced his departure in June.

Prior to taking the job in Sunnyside, he was director of Thurston County’s Central Services Department from 2013 through 2018.

He also worked for the state of Washington from 1997 to 2013, and served in management and leadership positions in the departments of Early Learning, General Administration, and Enterprise Services. 

Casey holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of California.

Raup is currently the chief operating officer and chief of staff at KEXP, a public radio station in Seattle.

He has been with the radio station since 2014, and before that, worked for the city of Seattle as director of policy and operations. He also was deputy chief of staff and director of the Office of Regional Policy & Planning for King County from 1998 through 2003.

Early in his career, Raup was a special assistant to the mayor of Seattle from 1994 to 1998.

Raup earned a master’s degree in sociology of law from Cambridge University in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Brown University.

Kuhns is the county administrative officer for Trinity County, California, and has served in that position since 2017.

He was also regional director of the Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, Modoc County Housing Authority and executive director for the Shasta County Community Action Agency from 2006 to 2017.

Kuhns has also worked as a psychologist in private practice and for county government, and was previously the director of the Office of Emergency Services for Del Norte County, California. 

He was awarded a doctorate in psychology from California Southern University, a master’s degree in behavioral science from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Brigham Young University.

Jefferson County commissioners have not indicated if they will make a final choice on the administrator’s position at the close of Friday’s sessions.

Dean said her ideal candidate is someone who shares the vision that commissioners have of the future of the county.

“Rural counties have struggled for the last 25 years,” Dean said.

“My fellow commissioners and I are all interested in someone who is excited about being innovative in rural counties like ours,” she said.

“That we can balance things like protecting the environment with business opportunities, that can find a way to allow for development while still protecting the rural quality of life”she added.

Dean indicated commissioners will need to be in full agreement about who to hire as the next county administrator.

That person needs to be a great fit for Jefferson County, she said.

“It’s really about whether we have the right candidate in the mix or not,” she said. “If we are not in enthusiastic agreement about the right candidate, then we could choose to continue our search.”

McCauley did not apply for the position, and the county’s interim administrator will assist during the transition in the position.

McCauley is expected to return to his position as director of the county’s Central Services Department after a new county administrator is hired. It’s also hoped that McCauley will become deputy administrator. 

For more information on the special meeting and public presentation, visit www.co.jefferson.wa.us.

To join the presentation via Zoom, go to https://zoom.us/j/93777841705.

Comments

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Tom Thiersch

Ethan Raup's presentation was excellent, superior to the other candidates.

Our county commissioners have made the right choice.

Go to the county website to watch the meeting recording and get acquainted with the new County Administrator's views.

Saturday, October 9