Franklin County hires new administrator

Keith Johnson
Keith Johnson

Franklin County has hired a former state of Idaho official as its new administrator.

Keith Johnson, who left his job at the Redwood City, Calif., software company Oracle, will officially take over Sept. 14.

Commissioners voted to hire him this week though the action item was not listed on the county’s public agenda.

He replaces longtime administrator Fred Bowen, who recently left to take a job as road superintendent with Benton County’s public works department.

Commissioner Brad Peck told the Herald that Johnson’s experience working with the state of Idaho helped separate him from the other candidates.

“Anytime there is a hands-on experience with state and local government, it’s valuable with this position,” he said. “The fact it (wasn’t) Washington state specific isn’t at all concerning. (Johnson) is well educated and highly accomplished.”

The county hired The Prothman Company of Issaquah to help with its search for a new administrator. The company also helped recruit Pasco City Manager Dave Zabell when that position was open.

Johnson was chosen over four other finalists and was one of three dozen applicants. He will earn $130,000 a year, plus health and retirement benefits.

The candidates interviewed in August and participated in a private event with some public officials and community leaders, Peck said. Johnson apparently made an impression on others at the event.

“Several elected officials sent notes saying Johnson presented himself well and that they liked him as a candidate,” Peck said.

Johnson, who has a law degree from the University of Denver and is a certified public accountant in Idaho, will oversee several departments and is responsible for developing the annual budget.

He was director of the Department of Administration in Idaho before joining Oracle.

Before that, he served as the elected state controller in Idaho from 2003 to 2007, according to a news release. He was the chief deputy for the position before being elected.

He also worked as the controller for the state of Oklahoma from 1995 to 1999.

Johnson also ran unsuccessfully in 2006 for the U.S. House of Representatives in Idaho.

“(Johnson) is a great addition to the county,” Peck said. “His team skills and experience that he brings are right on target for what we need.”

Tyler Richardson: 509-582-1556; trichardson@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson