The San Juan County Council announced their unanimous decision today to offer the position of County Manager to Michael Thomas, currently the City Administrator for the City of Enumclaw, Washington.
Council member Bob Jarman praised Thomas for his background in economic development and community planning, citing that it will be critical in addressing the land use and planning issues the County faces. Jarman also said that Mike Thomas will be a great addition to the Council team.
Member Rick Hughes spoke of Mike’s experience and familiarity with the laws of Washington State – and said he was very pleased that Thomas will be moving here with his family, including two school age children.
Council Chair Jamie Stephens detailed the steps that had been taken in the recruitment process, citing the strong roster of finalists provided by the recruiter. Stephens thanked the members of the community and staff who participated in the selection process and said he hoped Mike will be able to join the County staff the last week in June. Stephens said Mike’s collaborative team approach will work well here, and that he appreciated that Mike’s style was to work with councils and department heads to help them get their work done, rather than directing them.
Michael Thomas will be the first regular County Manager under the changes to the County Charter approved by voters in November, 2012. Bob Jean has been the Interim County Administrator, then the Interim County Manager, since last June.
There were 44 applicants for the position, with 5 currently residing in the County. The recruiting firm of The Prothman Company screened the candidates and presented the County Council with a list of semifinalists. The Council selected a list of finalists to interview, including one local candidate who then withdrew from consideration prior to the interviews.
On Monday, May 13th, the five candidates visited County facilities and met with islanders and answered questions at open houses held on Orcas Island, Lopez Island and San Juan Island. On Tuesday, May 14th, the candidates were interviewed by separate panels made up of County residents, County staff, and the County Council. The Council then held an executive session on Wednesday, May 15th, to interview the two top candidates. The Council met today in executive session to discuss the qualifications of the top candidates and then moved into open session for their deliberations and selection.