Morley announces resignation as Jefferson County administrator

Posted 4/30/21

Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley has resigned from his job as the top executive in county government.

Morley notified county workers of his departure in an email Thursday.

"It has …

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Morley announces resignation as Jefferson County administrator

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Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley has resigned from his job as the top executive in county government.

Morley notified county workers of his departure in an email Thursday.

His last day is Friday, April 30.

"It has been an honor to serve the community and to work with all of you as County Administrator through all of these years. With a new Board of Commissioners, and the opportunity to build a new team, now is the perfect time for me to make room for a new county administrator to seize the opportunities we have all built together," Morley wrote.

Central Services Director Mark McCauley will take over as interim county administrator while the county conducts a search for its next county administrator.

County commissioners were not immediately available for comment Friday morning, as they were attending a farewell event for Morley.

Morley said the announcement this week of $20.1 million in state funding for the Port Hadlock sewer system set the stage for his farewell.

"Dear colleagues, with the Hadlock Sewer finally funded, the county getting ready to exit the pandemic by leading the state in COVID vaccinations and with some of the lowest transmission rates, now is a good time – after 12½ years – to step down as county administrator," Morley said in his farewell message.

He also praised the leadership in place that would guide county government in the years to come.

"We have a new Board of County Commissioners that is passionate and capable, who are smart and sophisticated when it comes to policy, and who roll up their sleeves to help get the work done.  Our appointed senior management team is awesome. Yet the team is in transition, with two recent turnovers, and more slated later this year. So it’s a time for recovery and rebuilding, and a perfect time for the board to select a new administrator to lead a new team."

Morley said his time with the county had been bookended by a crisis on both ends — the Great Recession and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am proud of our accomplishments together these past years," he added. "When I arrived in the fall of 2008 the Great Recession was just being felt in full force. We managed through that crisis and kept core county finances and services intact. In 2010, Jefferson County citizens defied the odds and voted to pass a sales tax increase to retain valued community services, the only county in Washington state to do so in that recession year.

"Through the recession to the present, we built a strong collaborative culture of mutual respect and assistance among our eight independent elected officials, six appointed department directors, and three county commissioners – a culture that endures to this day ... When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of last year, our small but mighty Department of Emergency Management stepped up with Jefferson County Public Health to staff the front lines of response."

"And in the intervening years between the Great Recession and the pandemic, we moved to biennial budgeting, embarked on regulatory reform to speed permitting, continued to modernize our computer software and hardware to gain efficiency, and adopted a 20-year vision through our Comprehensive Plan, and adopted a Shoreline Master Program (now being updated again) to protect our natural environment."

Morley was hired by the county in September 2008.

Last December, commissioners unanimously approved a new employment contract for Morley with a pay raise; his new base salary was set at $141,953.

Morley signed the new contract Dec. 18.

The capper for his departure, he wrote in his message to county staff, was the success in getting funding for sewers in Port Hadlock.

"With a $20.175 million capital appropriation in this past Legislative Session, the sewer is now poised to finally be built to open up urban zoning to create jobs, services and affordable housing in Hadlock’s core area," Morley wrote.

"We’ve survived two crises, strengthened county government, and forged collaborations with our sister jurisdictions so we are prepared to turn our collective efforts on solving community problems using these federal dollars and by our own boot straps," he added.

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