Clark County official named interim administrator to replace Barron

McCauley has been director of general services since 2006

By Erik Hidle, Columbian staff writer

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Mark McCauley will become the next administrator of Clark County on an interim basis.

McCauley, the county's director of general services, will take the reins as the top manager at the county on Sept. 11. That is the day after administrator Bill Barron retires from the job he's held for 14 years.

McCauley is a certified public accountant and retired lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army who has been with Clark County since 2001. He began his career with the county as finance manager of public works and was promoted to director of general services in 2006.

McCauley holds bachelor's degrees in business administration and accounting from Washington State University and a master's degree in business administration from Syracuse University.

As director of general services, McCauley oversees 133 staff members who work across a variety of county departments including purchasing, technology, telecommunications, facilities management and risk management.

Clark County commissioners voted unanimously to offer the job to McCauley during a Wednesday board time meeting.

The interim status will last until at least November 2014 when voters will first have the chance to vote on a new county charter drafted by a board of 15 elected freeholders. Because the freeholders could choose to move to a model of government that elects a county executive, the county administrator role may become defunct. Due to that uncertainty, commissioners choose to go with an extended interim administrator rather than recruit for a long-term replacement.

McCauley's appointment to the position is dependent on a successful contract negotiation. He currently earns $130,332 per year.

When asked about the new job after the commissioners' meeting, McCauley seemed confident he would agree to terms.

"I'm honored by the opportunity," McCauley said. "And it's an honor to be selected to follow someone like Bill Barron."

McCauley was one of two seemingly obvious choices as he has served as acting administrator when Barron is out of the office. The other option considered by commissioners was Pete Capell, director of public works. Both were selected as replacements by Barron, and all three commissioners agreed the two men were solid options.

Commissioner Tom Mielke said he was wary to hire from outside for the interim role, as he wanted to keep some institutional knowledge intact.

"I got cold feet looking on the outside because they didn't know what Clark County was doing," Mielke said.

Commissioner David Madore also praised the options, as well as Barron for his work.

"Bill has hired both of these managers," Madore said. "He has set this organization up to succeed without him. That's one of the smartest, most generous things he could have done."

A succession plan for the general services department must also be determined moving forward. A county press release indicates McCauley could retain oversight of information technology and the medical examiner's office, and also remain chair of the Fairgrounds Site Management Group. Other duties will need to be divided among other staff members.

Some functions currently preformed with Barron, such as liaison roles with other agencies, are likely to be taken over by Senior Policy Analyst Axel Swanson.

Commissioner Steve Stuart made it clear McCauley will have the option to return to his job after his tenure as interim administrator.

Erik Hidle: 360-735-4547; http://twitter.com/col_clarkgov; erik.hidle@columbian.com