Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy Wednesday named a veteran Pierce County governmental manager as her acting second-in-command.
Ron Klein, who served as the county’s director of communications from 2001 to 2009 and who took the role as interim county communications director in July, will formally assume the role of acting deputy county executive Monday.
Klein will also continue in the acting communications director job until a new communications director is named. That appointment is expected to be announced in a few weeks, Klein said. Klein replaced Hunter George, who left the county in mid-summer for a job with Metro Parks. George had replaced Klein when Klein moved to Sound Transit as executive director of communications in 2009.
The new Pierce County deputy executive retired from his Sound Transit position in 2014, but returned to Pierce County’s employ at McCarthy’s request while she searched for a new communications director.
McCarthy, whose term ends at the end of 2016, said she wanted an experienced manager to fill the temporary No. 2 spot. McCarthy’s successor is expected to name his or her deputy when the county office changes hands early next year. Klein will make $171,280 annually.
“I wanted a seasoned professional who knows Pierce County and can address the complex issues we’re facing,” McCarthy said. “That’s especially important because this is a short-term appointment. We don’t have time to spend months bringing someone up to speed. Ron is already here and has the qualifications to step right into the deputy executive position.”
Former Pierce County Deputy Executive Kevin Phelps left his position Monday to take a job as city manager of Glendale, Arizona. He begins that job Feb. 1.
Before taking the Pierce County communications director job in 2001, Klein had been creative director for the Cole & Weber advertising agency in Seattle for from 1995 to 2000. Before that, Klein was one of the original executives in Tacoma’s municipal television operation.
Klein, 64, said he will once more retire when his temporary position ends.
“My family told me I’ve been a failure at retirement,” he said.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663