Wednesday was a good day for two of the top officials in the city of Aberdeen.
Ruth Clemens was announced as Aberdeen’s first city administrator after the Aberdeen City Council voted her in on Wednesday night with eight yes votes and four no votes. Dale Green, who has served as a police officer for Aberdeen Police Department since 1997, was announced as the city’s new chief of police. He was voted in unanimously by the city council.
Green, who officially starts as chief on Saturday, Oct. 1, said it was “kind of an emotional moment,” for him. He started as a police Explorer in 1993.
“To be able to literally work my way up the ranks is just kind of a pretty awesome experience,” Green said. “I don’t take the amount of faith they put in me lightly at all. We serve this community and we serve the citizens, and it’s an absolute privilege. I’m so fortunate to have support of our citizens and all of our people. It’s just an awesome opportunity.”
Green had a strong support presence inside the council chambers. That group included his wife Jaimie; his former boss, retired APD Chief Steve Shumate; his parents; Aberdeen Fire Department Interim Chief Dave Golding; APD Deputy Chief Jay Staten, and many others.
Green, whose respect for Shumate rang through during his words after the announcement, said he has “big shoes to fill,” as APD’s chief of police.
Shumate spoke briefly in support of Green before the vote. Shumate watched Green rise through the ranks of lieutenant, and then police commander. According to Shumate, Green exceeded his expectations.
“He was somebody who was driven to do what was best for the city of Aberdeen and the Aberdeen Police Department,” Shumate said.
Shumate said Aberdeen would be “blessed” to have Green as its permanent chief.
And then the city council showed its support with the vote to make Green Aberdeen’s new chief of police. A little later after Green’s promotion was confirmed, Clemens got her good news.
Clemens, who starts work Monday, Oct. 3, spoke with The Daily World about her thoughts on getting the city administrator job. She most recently worked for Thurston Public Utility District, where she said she was “very happy.”
She saw from the city administrator job description that what she did for Thurston PUD lined up with what she would have to do as city administrator.
“It just looked like a good fit for me,” Clemens said. “During the interview process, I wanted to be sure it was equally a good fit, not only for me but for the city. In meeting the staff, in meeting the directors, and the council members, understanding what their needs were, it sounded like it was going to be a good fit.”
While she conveyed that she could have stayed at Thurston PUD “forever,” she said she feels like when there’s an opportunity to serve the community in which you live, that it’s an important calling.
“We should all answer that call,” Clemens said. “Whatever it is. Whether it’s volunteering for a basketball team, helping Little League, whatever it is. … I just felt like it was a great opportunity.”
Clemens said she feels nerves as she prepares to start as city administrator, but she said it’s like any new job.
“For me, fortunately at the PUD, I was put in a similar situation where I was able to essentially create my job there, and that was how I was able to oversee six different departments,” Clemens said. “That comes with a lot of trust. Our general manager was really wonderful. … He believed in me and believed in my potential in what I could do.”
According to Clemens, she was put through a “thorough” interview process. The recruiting included multiple panel interviews, discussions with Schave, the city’s department heads, and part of the city council.
Clemens admitted she has some things she has to learn, but she feels pretty confident that she can learn all she needs to know.
“There’s some things I need to learn because I’m moving to a municipality, whereas the PUD is a utility,” Clemens said. “There are some things that I’m going to have to learn, especially their processes, but I feel over time I can definitely learn.”
Clemens’ former boss, Thurston PUD General Manager John Weidenfeller, expressed his belief in Clemens’ transition to Aberdeen city administrator.
“Ruth is an outstanding leader at the PUD,” Weidenfeller said. “She leads by example, has the highest ethical standards and will be an excellent city administrator for the city of Aberdeen. She leaves enormous shoes to fill and will be greatly missed by the elected officials, myself, the senior leadership team and the employees of the PUD. Our loss is Aberdeen’s gain.”
Aberdeen City Council President Kati Kachman said she looks forward to Aberdeen having its first city administrator.
“I’m hopeful she will collaborate with our skilled department heads and staff to find efficiencies, solve problems, and provide consistent leadership at city hall over the next several years,” Kachman said.