Commissioners offer County Manager job to man with local roots

Ryan Barrett FB.JPG

Ryan Barrett

CHEHALIS- After an extensive nationwide search, the Lewis County Commissioners have selected an individual with local roots as their next County Manager.

The commissioners offered their top position Wednesday to Ryan Barrett, a former Lewis County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant who now oversees more than 100 employees as a captain with the South Correctional Entity in Des Moines, Wash. The commissioners selected Barrett, 41, after hosting a public meet-and-greet followed by an intensive, all-day interview session that involved nearly two dozen county employees, including elected officials, department directors and others.

Barrett, who grew up in the area and served on the Centralia City Council from 2008 to 2009, has more than 19 years of public service in Lewis and King counties. His experience includes work in municipal management, budget oversight, labor relations and policy development.

The commissioners said they were impressed with the high caliber and quality of the candidates they considered for the position.

Commissioner Sean Swope, who serves as chair, shared enthusiasm in welcoming Barrett. “He has lived in Lewis County, knows our culture and our people,” Swope said. “He’s a person who has exhibited great leadership qualities, and I’m excited to work with him to implement great things for Lewis County.”

“I appreciate the amount of feedback received from county department directors and other elected officials in support of Mr. Barrett,” Swope added.

“After having received excellent input from a panel of county department directors and elected officials, I’m confident Mr. Barrett is the right choice and he’ll do an excellent job serving the citizens of Lewis County,” Commissioner Scott Brummer said. “We’re going to collectively work together to ensure his success.”

“Mr. Barrett interviewed well and obviously took his time preparing,” said Commissioner Lindsey Pollock. “While I did not vote for him, I’m hopeful that he can make the transition from his current position to the duties of our County Manager. There will be quite the learning curve, and I’m confident that our skilled county directors and staff will do everything they can to facilitate his growth.”

“I’m thrilled to have somebody who loves our community returning to Lewis County to join and lead our great management team here at the county,” Interim Lewis County Manager Steve Wohld said. “I’m excited to welcome him back to our community.”

Barrett, who has been married for more than 20 years and has three children, has a Master of Business Administration from Western Governors University in Millcreek, Utah, and a Bachelor in Business Communication from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.

If he accepts the position, Barrett would succeed Erik Martin, who left in March to join a private engineering firm.

Posted: July 13, 2023