Clark County Council adds third finalist for county manager position

Addition of candidate from Maui County, which has a population of about 155,000 people, comes after a pair of citizens criticized the council for choosing finalists from relatively small areas

VANCOUVER – The Clark County Council has added a third finalist to an upcoming moderated forum aimed at giving the public a chance to hear from individuals who could be selected to become the next county manager.

Keith A. Regan, managing director of Maui County, Hawaii, will join previously announced finalists Rick Rudometkin, county manager of Eddy County, New Mexico, and Shawn Henessee, city administrator for Pleasant Hill, Missouri.

The Clark County Council has added a third candidate ahead of a forum planned for county manager finalists May 30. Photo by Eric Schwartz
The Clark County Council has added a third candidate ahead of a forum planned for county manager finalists May 30. Photo by Eric Schwartz

The addition of Regan to the forum comes after a pair of citizens criticized the county council during its regular meeting Tuesday, asking how Rudometkin and Henessee could be qualified to manage a county of more than 400,000 residents when their current jurisdictions have populations of about 54,000 and 8,000 people, respectively.

Maui County has a population of about 155,000 people.

“Regan has been managing director since 2011 and has more than 20 years of experience in senior management in the public and private sector,” according to a press release from the county. “He earned a bachelor’s degree in business operations from DeVry Institute of Technology, an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a master’s of public administration from the University of Southern California. He also earned a certificate in Senior Executives in State and Local Government from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Following criticism of the initial two finalists Tuesday, Councilor Julie Olson said she politely disagreed with the sentiment that the council was not properly vetting candidates. She said the list of candidates was narrowed down through interviews and honest assessments of their experiences and qualifications, with councilors looking beyond their current positions and the size of their jurisdictions relative to Clark County.

Council Chair Marc Boldt said on Tuesday that while the strong economy makes for tough hiring and a smaller pool of qualified candidates, administrators from smaller jurisdictions frequently have broader skill sets because they’re often called upon to carry out more duties than their counterparts in larger cities and counties.  

A call to Boldt following the addition of Regan as a finalist on Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned.
The forum of finalists will be moderated by Jim Rumpeltes, who has served as interim county manager since June 2017, just after the council fired Mark McCauley. The county has been on a search for a permanent replacement ever since. None of a previous slate of finalists were hired as the council chose instead to continue its search.  

The forum is scheduled for 9 to 10 a.m., Wed., May 30, in the sixth-floor hearing room of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

Suggested questions for the candidates can be sent to countymanagersearch@clark.wa.gov.

The full press release announced the addition of Regan is below, including information on the backgrounds and qualifications of all three finalists:    

THIRD COUNTY MANAGER CANDIDATE WILL JOIN COMMUNITY FORUM ON MAY 30

News Release from Clark Co. WA Communications

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council has invited a third finalist for the county manager position to participate in a moderated forum next week. Keith A. Regan, managing director of the County of Maui will join the forum with two other finalists announced last week. They are Rick Rudometkin, county manager of Eddy County, New Mexico, and Shawn Henessee, city administrator for Pleasant Hill, Missouri.

The forum will be 9-10 am Wednesday, May 30, in the sixth-floor Hearing Room of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. It is open to the public and will be moderated by Jim Rumpeltes, interim county manager.

If you have suggested questions for the candidates, please send them to countymanagersearch@clark.wa.gov.    

Regan has been managing director since 2011 and has more than 20 years of experience in senior management in the public and private sector. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business operations from DeVry Institute of Technology, an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a master’s of public administration from the University of Southern California. He also earned a certificate in Senior Executives in State and Local Government from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Rudometkin has held his current position since 2013 and previously served as Eddy County Public Works director. He has 24 years of progressive local and municipal government experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at Woodbury University, Burbank, California. He also holds credentials as a Certified Advocate for Public Ethics and Certified Public Manager through the New Mexico EDGE program.

Henessee has been city administrator of City of Pleasant Hill since 2017, and served as county administrator for Marinette County, Wisconsin, from 2015 – 2017. He has extensive experience with county and local government departments and functions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wichita State University, a master’s degree in political science from University of Kansas, and a juris doctor from University of Missouri.

We'd love to hear your comments!

About The Author

Eric Schwartz arrives as a reporter at Clark County Today with nearly 15 years of experience as a journalist. He most recently served five years as editor of The Chronicle newspaper in Centralia. Prior to that, he was an assistant editor, reporter and intern at the newspaper. Schwartz graduated from Forks High School on the Olympic Peninsula before attending Centralia College and Eastern Washington University, where he was the editor-in-chief of the award-winning college newspaper, The Easterner, and received the Edmund J. Yarwood award as the top performer in his class. He covered sports through a fellowship at The Tri-City Herald before taking a full-time reporting job with The Chronicle in 2007. After three years as a reporter at The Chronicle, he traveled to Kalispell, MT, and worked as a crime, courts and emergency services reporter at The Daily Inter Lake, where he won two first-place awards for spot news coverage from the Montana Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2011, he returned to The Chronicle as the assistant editor before being promoted to editor in 2013. Under his leadership, The Chronicle was the recipient of several C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards for Distinguished Reporting, and the newspaper was twice given the General Excellence Award as the top performer in its category by the Society of Professional Journalists. Schwartz has also been the recipient of two C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards for his own reporting and has garnered additional individual awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. Most recently, he and his staff were honored with a Key Award from the Washington Coalition for Open Government for The Chronicle’s editorials and news coverage focused on transparency in county government.

Related posts