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93 apply for city of Kent CAO job

A nationwide search produced plenty of applicants for two high-profile city of Kent jobs.

Ninety-three people applied to be the new chief administrative officer (CAO) and 52 applied for the finance director job, according to city spokeswoman Michelle Wilmot.

The applications were processed by the Olympia consultant hired by the city to help fill the positions. The application deadline for both jobs was May 9.

"The recruiting firm will screen the applications and let us know how many actually meet the requirements of the jobs," said Wilmot said in an email. "We should have that information and the proposed timeline (for filling the jobs) by the end of this month."

The City Council voted 5-1 in March to hire Karras Consulting for up to $60,000 to conduct a nationwide search for a new CAO and finance director. Mayor Suzette Cooke proposed hiring the consultant. Cooke will pick a replacement for both jobs. Under the strong mayor form of government, she does not need approval from the council for the hires.

"If all goes well, and there are applicants that meet the qualifications, Suzette will start conducting interviews in June," Wilmot said.

Wilmot said it's uncertain at this time how many applicants might be interviewed for each position.

"We don’t have a predetermined number of people that will be interviewed … I don’t think we know enough yet," Wilmot said. "That number could change given the number of qualified candidates or lack thereof."

Both jobs are filled by interim hires. Tom Brubaker has served as interim CAO since John Hodgson retired in May 2013. Brubaker is one of the 93 applicants. He was the city attorney before taking the interim spot.

"Yes, I submitted my application," Brubaker said in an email. "No comment other than that. I'll let the process take its course."

Paula Barry is the interim finance director after Bob Nachlinger retired in January. She was the assistant finance director before moving into the interim position. Barry said she applied for the permanent position.

The salary range for a new CAO is $121,200 to $169,668 per year, according to the city of Kent 2014 pay rate list. The salary range for a finance director is $106,776 to $149,496.

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