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Executive exchange: San Juan County, Lake Forest Park swap administrators

Who says the San Juan County Council can't move fast?

Just one week after Administrator Pete Rose announced his resignation, the County Council selected veteran public administrator Bob Jean to manage the executive branch of the county on a temporary basis.

And in a somewhat ironic twist, Jean is winding up a similar stint for the city of Lake Forest Park, which, if that name sounds familiar, it should.

That's where Rose will assume the Seattle-area city's managerial reins following his departure from San Juan County. His last day is June 8.

"We felt it was important to act quickly and important for staff to have that continuity," council Chairwoman Patty Miller said of the swift decision. "There's also a number of significant things were trying we're trying to accomplish this year."

Miller said the council considered several possibilities from within the county ranks and interviewed three "external" candidates before agreeing to offer the job to Jean, a University Place resident and its former city manager, 1995-2010. The three outside candidates were drawn from a pool of names of experienced public administrators who specialize in temporary assignments.

The county's first-ever administrator, David Goldsmith, Rose's predecessor, was drawn from that very pool and hired on an interim basis as well.

Miller said the council, although not entirely aligned following the interviews, agreed without dissent to offer the position to Jean, after a discussion about each of the candidates and their respective qualities.

"What I liked about Bob Jean is his approach to the interim position," she said. "His presentation and responses in the interview were clear and succinct. He has very good communication skills."

In addition to Lake Forest Park, where Jean has served as interim city manager since November, the 63-year-old University of California, Santa Barbara, graduate has been interim manager for the city of Gillette, Wyo. He has a master's degree in public administrator from the University of Puget Sound.

Miller said she would have preferred someone with a bit more experience on the county level, but is confident that Jean will be up to the task. She said contract negotiations are under way, and that she anticipates the temporary assignment will last through the end of the year, and perhaps into the beginning of the next.

"I expect to hear any day now if our offer is accepted or rejected," she said.

 

 

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