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Mayor names new chief administrative officer and finance director

Derek Matheson - courtesy photo
Derek Matheson
— image credit: courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke today announced the appointments of Derek Matheson as chief administrative officer (CAO) and Aaron BeMiller as finance director.

Derek Matheson, city manager for Covington, will begin Aug. 11. He brings more than 20 years of experience as a city leader.

"Derek has a passion for local government management and has demonstrated skills as an outstanding communicator and consensus builder," Cooke said. "In Covington, he has improved the city's organizational culture and reputation, strengthened its finances and implemented numerous economic development programs."

Prior to Covington, Matheson was the assistant and interim city manager for Federal Way. He has a BA and a MPA from the University of Washington.

As Kent's CAO, Matheson will be responsible for virtually all of city's day-to-day operations, including economic development, finance, human resources, parks, police and six other departments.

"I'm thrilled Mayor Cooke has asked me to join her team as the city's next chief administrative officer," Matheson said. "I'm excited to be part of a community with a strong and growing economy, vibrant neighborhoods and people from all over the world. I look forward to working with the mayor, City Council, leadership team, and an outstanding staff to advance the city's strategic goals in the years to come."

New finance director

BeMiller is the budget and finance director/county treasurer for Clatsop County, Oregon.

Prior to this role, BeMiller was the Pierce County budget manager for six years, where he managed an $894 million annual operating and capital budget. He has a decade of municipal government experience with Seattle and Renton, including as a financial analyst for Seattle Center. BeMiller has a BA from Western Washington University and a MPA from Seattle University.

BeMiller begins in Kent on July 24. He will oversee the city's financial operations, including a 33-employee department.

BeMiller says he is honored and excited to join the city of Kent and the Finance Department team.

"Having lived in the Puget Sound region for most of my life, I am well aware of all Kent has to offer, from its wonderful cultural diversity, to its beautiful parks and recreation opportunities and economic vitality," BeMiller said. "I look forward to continuing the terrific work that has already begun to strengthen the city's financial standing, provide customers with high quality service and maintain transparency of the city's fiscal operations."

The appointments follow the retirements of former CAO John Hodgson and Finance Director Robert Nachlinger.

Cooke thanked key staff for ably filling interim roles during the search process: City Attorney Tom Brubaker as CAO, Assistant Finance Director Paula Barry as finance director and Deputy City Attorney Pat Fitzpatrick as city attorney.

"They all have done outstanding jobs. Kent is fortunate to have such qualified employees step up during this period of transition," Cooke said. "I'm pleased all of them are staying on and returning to their prior roles."

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