Warrenton City Manager Scott Derickson will be the new Clatsop County administrator.

He will take over from Jim Azumano, who retired earlier this year.

His unanimous selection by the county board of commissioners tonight (Wednesday) followed a review of comments from the public who met with Derickson and the other finalist, Jefferson County Administrator Mike Morgan, at a reception Monday.

The selection was delayed briefly after Commissioner Lylla Gaebel said she wanted to review written comments of department heads and citizens. No details of these comments were divulged today.

The finalists were interviewed by the commissioners, department heads and union representatives after a list of 59 applicants was narrowed to two. Commissioners met in executive session for 45 minutes Wednesday night then emerged and were unanimous in authorizing Chairwoman Helen Westbrook to begin negotiating an employment contract with Derickson.

After the unanimous vote, Commissioner Sam Patrick said the county would work closely with Warrenton leaders to make sure the city was not inconvenienced. Mayor Jeff Hazen, attending the commissioners' meeting in Astoria, said he had already talked with Derickson about ensuring a smooth transition if he was selected.

The offer to Derickson is subject to successful negotiations of an employment contract, county leaders stressed. Azumano earned $82,884 plus a $350 per month vehicle allowance. Derickson's contract details will be negotiated.

Westbrook said there were two good finalists but Derickson was the better fit, having already established good working relationships with key players in the region. She commended Derickson's financial know-how as well as his demonstrated problem-solving ability.

"I see Scott as a public servant promoting high ethical standards in government and good service. I have every confidence that he is going to provide excellent service for Clatsop County, and I look forward to working with him," Westbrook said.

Assistant County Administrator Debra Kraske has been filling in as the interim administrator since Azumano's retirement in May.

Derickson has been Warrenton's city manager since spring 2000. He oversees a $29 million budget and a staff of eight department heads and 40 employees. During Derickson's four years in Warrenton, the city funded a new water system and has made progress in meeting state-required upgrades to the sewer system and complying with land-use and wetlands mandates.

The manager, in conjunction with Hazen, guided Warrenton's community visioning project that gathered citizen input about the city's long-term future. The project was nominated for the League of Oregon Cities 2002 Good Governance Award.

Before coming to Warrenton, Derickson was senior management analyst for the Umpqua Regional Council of Governments in Douglas County for four years. He provided consulting services to 12 cities, the county, special districts and nonprofits in administration, personnel management, finance, systems development charges, development of capital improvement projects, grant writing and land-use planning. He secured $5 million in grants for municipal projects. He also served a paid internship as an economic development planner for the city of Veneta.

A fourth-generation native Oregonian, Derickson earned a master of science in public administration and a bachelor of science in planning, public policy and management from the University of Oregon.

• Wednesday's story about the delay in the administrator hiring decision had an incorrect date for a executive session on the issue this week. It took place Monday, not Tuesday.

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