Pierce County deputy executive among likely finalists for Lakewood city manger job

Staff writerJune 7, 2013 

Six people, including Pierce County deputy executive Kevin Phelps, are the apparent finalists for Lakewood city manager.

City officials on Friday released the list of candidates recommended by a consultant to be invited for final interviews later this month. The City Council is scheduled to finalize the list Monday. The council could decide not to follow the recommendations and bring one or more other candidates in for interviews instead.

Finalists will be invited in for interviews June 17 and 18. The council is expected to make a hiring decision in late June or early July.

Phelps is the only candidate on the short list with deep and current South Sound ties. He has worked as the top nonelected official in county government since 2009. He sat on the Tacoma City Council from 1998 to 2005 and worked as deputy state auditor prior to that.

Phelps, who moved to Lakewood after leaving the Tacoma council, said his interest in managing the daily operations of Pierce County’s second-largest city arose from his ties to the community.

“We felt that it was very unique opportunity to live and serve in your own community,” he said.

Phelps said County Executive Pat McCarthy was supportive of his decision to apply for the job. He is actively involved in planning for the 2015 U.S Open at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place and leaves Tuesday as part of a large delegation of county employees attending the 2013 U.S. Open near Philadelphia.

Phelps said he would like to continue to play a role in the golf event planning, if possible.

His interest in the Lakewood city manager position had been rumored for weeks, but he had declined to comment until Friday.

The other prospective finalists are:

n James Bourey, who worked as city manager of Greenville, S.C., from 2004 to 2010 and now works as a director of corporate development for a regional accounting and financial services firm in that city. He also held leadership positions for county governments in California, Florida and Minnesota.

n John Caulfield, who has been city manager of Mountlake Terrace since 2006 and was previously the deputy city manager for University Place. He also held numerous finance positions with the city of Federal Way.

n Matthew Fulton, who was the city manager for Coon Rapids, Minn., from 2006 to 2012 and now works as an organizational consultant for Daly City, Calif. He previously worked as city administrator in Hartford, Wis.

n W. Scott Larese, who is an executive with Navigator Development Group Inc., a Alabama-based military consulting firm. Larese’s last assignment during a 25-year career in the Army that ended in 2008 was as garrison commander — the military equivalent of a city manager — for Fort Rucker, Ala.

n Michael Martin, who has worked as city manager in Burien since 2006. He previously worked as chief administrative officer at the city of Kent and held several positions for the consolidated city and county government of San Francisco.

Nearly 40 people applied for the Lakewood job. The consultant, Greg Prothman, identified the 13 most promising applicants and recommended his six finalists during a closed session Monday night.

The council directed Prothman to collect more information about six candidates, particularly regarding their experience with economic development, leading to Friday’s announcement.

Mayor Don Anderson said Friday that all six of the announced candidates were on his top-nine list.

“I’m happy with the quality of the candidates,” Anderson said. “I think any one of them is competent and able to perform the task.”

Residents can meet the candidates at a reception starting at 6 p.m. June 17 at the McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College.

Christian Hill: 253-274-7390
christian.hill@thenewstribune.com
@TNTchill

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