Northwest NEWS

December 21, 1998

Front Page

Carnation picks city administrator, approves county police contract

by Lisa Allen, Valley View Editor

   CARNATION--The City Council confirmed Harwood "Woody" Edvalson as the new city administrator last week.

   The city had interviewed 50 applicants in the four months following former administrator Randy Suko's departure. Suko, whose employment contract was terminated July 31, had been hired by former Mayor Jack Stein in January 1997. Suko was replaced by Don Morrison, a previous Carnation administrator who agreed to take the job on an interim basis while the city looked for a replacement.

   Edvalson was one of three finalists vying for the job. He has 15 years' experience in local government administration and is currently the Assistant City Manager of Medina. He has also served as the Acting City Manager of Medina and as the Assistant City Manager of three California cities: Temecula, Banning, and Cathedral City.

   Edvalson has a bachelor of science degree in earth sciences and a masters of public administration degree from BYU. He is a Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) and has been active in the Boy Scouts of America. He resides in North Bend with his wife and four children.

   Just prior to the confirmation vote, Mayor David Hunter told the council that Edvalson was well qualified to serve as the new administrator. "He has a significant amount of experience and is a resident of the Valley," Hunter said.

   Councilmember Paula Turner agreed. "He has a lot of experience in automation," she said. "That will take the city to the next step and help us deal with what we will have coming in."

   The position, a two-year contract, pays $52,900 per year and starts Jan. 1.

   Edvalson said he was looking forward to working with the city. "I think Carnation is a great city with a promising future," he said. "I look forward to being part of the work here."

   Hunter said, in looking at the year ahead, now that Carnation has a "full and experienced staff in place," the city will be looking at a sewer plan for downtown. "This will be the biggest public works project the city will ever look at," he said.

County police services voted in

   The City Council also approved the 1999 budget and voted unanimously to contract with the King County Sheriff's Office for police services, thereby disbanding the city's own department.

   Hunter noted that "since February, I have been openly known as an outward supporter of this (contracting with King County)." He said the Public Health and Safety Committee worked on the project for several months before making their recommendations.

   King County Sheriff's Sgt. D.J. Nesel has been serving as the town's chief since the contract expired for former chief Gunnar Otness earlier this year.

   "King County has bent over backward to provide Nesel for six months at no cost to us," he said. "We have worked closely with King County in the training of two officers and a third officer is scheduled to receive training, as well."

   Although resident Mary Osterday had complained earlier in the meeting that she felt residents had been "shortchanged" by the decision, Hunter argued that the community faces many challenges ahead and that King County offers quality law enforcement. "We have done our due diligence and in my opinion made the right decision," he said.

   Nesel said the public will see no change except the officers will be wearing King County badges and, after background checks and testing, three of the officers in town will be offered jobs with the county.

   As far as who will be the next police chief, the town will have to interview at least three candidates, Hunter said. "We are prepared for a two-week search for applicants," he said. "Nesel has indicated he wishes to say on."

   King County coverage for the town will include three full-time officers and a part-time chief.