Clark County budget director latest to depart

He is fourth top official to announce plans to leave in past two months

By Erik Hidle and Stephanie Rice

Published:

Updated: June 18, 2013, 7:38 PM

 

Clark County Budget Director Jim Dickman has accepted a job with Pierce County.

Dickman, 55, married in February and said he intends to move to Lacey, where his wife lives.

The announcement makes him the fourth high-ranking county official in two months to announce plans to leave.

Dickman’s resignation follows the announcements of Clark County Administrator Bill Barron and Deputy Administrator Glenn Olson.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart noted those three individuals make up the top leadership in terms of planning the county budget.

“I am worried about our top three budget managers leaving at a crucial time,” Stuart said. “We have a lot of work to do now to shore this up, but we also have a great team in the budget office.”

Stuart said commissioners may discuss the matter as soon as Wednesday’s afternoon board time meeting.

Bronson Potter, the county’s chief civil deputy prosecutor, announced his departure earlier this month.

A fifth top official at the county, Environmental Services Director Kevin Gray, announced his resignation in February. However, it was later determined that Gray was offered a severance package after he dropped a whistle-blower complaint against the county.

Barron, whose last day will be Sept. 10, said he decided to retire even though his contract doesn’t expire until December 2014. Potter has accepted a job with the city of Vancouver. Olson, mentioned as a candidate to replace Barron, said his retirement will be effective July 1.

Dickman, who earns $118,080 a year, will serve his final day on July 2. As of Tuesday morning, he said he had yet to reach a final salary agreement with Pierce County, but called the pay “comparable.”

When asked if his departure was part of a larger exodus within the county, Dickman said his decision was based on his family.

“I’m seriously leaving because I want to be with my wife,” Dickman said. “I love this place.”

Still, Dickman noted, the financial state of the county will require leadership moving forward.

Commissioners recently approved a fee waiver for nonresidential development in an effort to stimulate job growth.

And while it is a projection — and Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke, the two Republicans voting yes in the 2-1 vote, predict new taxes from the influx of business will bridge the gap — the county estimates the general fund burden will increase by $4.8 million over the coming year and a half because of the change.

“Our current financial modeling for the next few years reflects that the county has a challenge ahead of them for balancing the books,” Dickman said.