Clatsop County has settled on its six finalists for the position of county manager.

The county manager finalists will arrive next week to meet county commissioners, staff and other community leaders – as well as the general public – to make their case for why they deserve to be the county’s next top administrator.

The Board of Commissioners is seeking a replacement for current County Manager Duane Cole, who has set a retirement date of May 31.

Out of an initial pool of 40 applicants, the board narrowed the list of candidates to six following recommendations from executive search consultant Greg Prothman, who conducted interviews of 15 applicants and shared his findings and impressions with the board during an executive session.

Two Northwest candidates are from West Linn and Bothell, Wash. Others come from Colorado, Indiana, Wisconsin and New Mexico. They will be the guests at a public meet-and-greet reception from 6 to 8 p.m. May 29 at Astoria’s Holiday Inn Express, at 204 West Marine Drive. The finalists will be available to meet with citizens one-on-one and answer questions.

Citizens will be able to leave written evaluations of the candidates at the meet-and-greet event or call the county to voice their opinions.

In a break from tradition, Cole will take part in reviewing the candidates and introducing them to the role of county manager. In past years, the outgoing county manager had little say in the hiring process.

“That would have been really helpful to me on the way in,” Cole said.

He said he will tell the candidates that, if hired, they will take the reins of a well-executed team and serve a professional board of commissioners.

Cole has served for 35 years in local government, including the last four years in Clatsop County. He said he doesn’t know what he will do next in retirement, but added that he plans to travel and possibly provide some manual labor at a friend’s winery. He will move back to Walla Walla, Wash., where his family lives full time.

After Cole’s retirement May 31, Assistant County Manager Nicole Williams will serve as interim county manager. The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners hope to have a county manager in place by July.

On May 30, the candidates will undergo interviews by three panels made up of the county commissioners, senior county staff and labor representatives. The panels will also be made up of community stakeholders, including representatives from cities, Clatsop Community College and the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.

The county commissioners hope to make a final selection by early June.

The list of finalists includes:

Ed Green

Making his home in Rifle, Colo., Ed Green was most recently the county manager for Garfield County, Colo., a position he held for more than 13 years, from 1998 until February 2012. Prior to serving Garfield County, he was project vice president and director for contracts and asset management for the Fluor Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio, an environmental remediation firm. He has also worked for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Hughes Aircraft and the Department of Energy at Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, all in Colorado. He has a B.S. in business from the University of Colorado and an MBA from Colorado State University.

Gene Green

Gene Green was most recently the public works director for the city of West Linn, where he served the city for more than five years. Prior to that, he was city manager of Molalla for more than eight years. He has also served as Assistance City Manager for Unalaska, Alaska, and has held management positions with the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility and the Anchorage Capital Projects Office. He lives in Silverton. He has a B.A. in organizational administration from Alaska Pacific University and a Maste’s of Education from Boston University.

Michael McNees

Most recently Michael McNees was the chief operating officer for USA Track & Field, a position he held for more than three years. He was also the organization’s interim chief executive officer for a year and a half. Prior to working for USA Track & Field, McNees was county administrator for Blaine County, Idaho, from 2007 to 2009. He was also city manager of Sarasota, Florida, for six years, and he was with Collier County, Fla., from 1984 to 2001, serving in a number of capacities, including six years as assistant county manager/chief operating officer. He resides in Indiana. He has a B.A. in Chemistry from Indiana University and an MBA from Louisiana Tech University.

Tom Mitchell

A Bothell, Wash., resident, Tom Mitchell is taking time out to travel and visit family following 30 years of work at the county level in California. He was most recently the chief executive officer for Mendocino County from 2007 to 2010. Before going to Mendocino County, he was county administrative officer for Calaveras County for five years. Mitchell was also with the County of San Luis Obispo from 1979 to 2002, serving in several capacities, including as an accountant, administrative services officer and finally a general services administrator, a position he held for 12 years. He has a B.S. in business administration from San Jose State University.

Travis Myren

Travis Myren has been the director of administration at Dane County, Wis., since 2009. He has been with the county for 13 years, beginning his career there as an assistant to the director of administration and serving as deputy director of administration for eight years. He calls Fitchburg, Wis., home. Myren has a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

James Payne

James Payne is a partner at Precision Organizing and Records Management, a firm located in Rio Rancho, N.M. The company provides comprehensive records management services to corporate and municipal clients. Prior to that, he was city manager for Rio Rancho from 2007 to 2008. Payne also served Waukesha, Wis., as a city administrator for eight years, the city of Franklin, Wis., as city business administrator for 13 years, and LeMars, Iowa, as city administrator for four years. He was an assistant to the city manager at Roseville, Minn., for three years. Payne lives in New Mexico. He has a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a Master’s of Public administration.

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