Franklin County has a new assistant public works director and county engineer.
Commissioners voted Wednesday to offer the full-time job to Matthew S. Rasmussen, 34, of Pasco.
Rasmussen, a civil engineer at Meier Architecture Engineering in Kennewick, was one of 40 applicants.
Starting Sept. 24, he will be paid almost $69,000 a year to be the No. 2 boss in the county's public works department.
Commissioners also plan to hire a new director for the department.
Guy Walters is the assistant director who has been serving as interim director of the department. He will help Rasmussen transition into the job, said County Administrator Fred Bowen.
Walters planned to resign as soon as his replacement was hired. He intends to leave at the end of the year, Bowen said.
Commissioners fired Tim Fife as director of public works after learning in February that Dennis Huston, the public works accounting manager, was suspected of embezzling millions of dollars through a scam using phony invoices.
Fife, who also was the county engineer, was fired for lack of oversight of Huston and the department.
Commissioners decided to put the county engineer duties with the assistant director's job, and make the department's director a stronger administrative position, said Bowen, who added that he expects to have a short list of candidates for the top job by the end of October.
Before coming to work at Meier Architecture Engineering 18 months ago, Rasmussen worked for the city of Pasco as a senior engineer. He had been there three years after spending two years with the Kennewick Irrigation District.
"I am looking forward to the challenge. This has been my career goal to be a city or county engineer," said Rasmussen, who obtained his civil engineering and professional engineer license after graduating from California Polytechnic University at Pomona.
Also Wednesday, commissioners agreed to buy a replacement vehicle for the county coroner, whose vehicle was totaled in a traffic accident.
But Commissioner Bob Koch said the 2002 Ford Explorer priced at $9,402 was about $2,000 more than the Kelley Blue Book estimate for a like vehicle in excellent condition.
Peck said he would look into why the coroner's new rig warranted the higher price.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org