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Washington County Board appoints new administrator

The Washington County Board on Tuesday named Molly O'Rourke as the county's new administrator to replace the retiring Jim Schug.

O'Rourke moves into the role Jan. 27 as the top county official after serving as deputy administrator for over 10 years. After her appointment, O'Rourke praised Schug, who is set to retire this month, and said one of Washington County's strengths is the depth of the organization.

"There is an incredible legacy we have of service in this county," O'Rourke said, adding later: "I will do my best to continue that legacy."

O'Rourke started with Washington County in 1995 and in addition to deputy administrator has served as director of the county's taxpayer services and elections department and acting director of its auditor-treasurer office.

The board voted 5-0 to approve the hire during Tuesday's County Board meeting. Commissioners conducted an internal search for the new administrator with assistance from Springsted, Inc., an executive search firm.

Board members interviewed O'Rourke and two other county department managers for the position last Wednesday. The other finalists were Kevin Corbid, director of Property Records and Taxpayer Services, and Public Works Director Don Theisen. The three were the only county officials who put their names forward for consideration.

"We had some excellent employees that came forward and went through the process," board Chairman Dennis Hegberg said. Commissioners have seen O'Rourke in action and are impressed with her, he added.

"She is highly regarded throughout the state, especially here in the metro," Commissioner Lisa Weik said of O'Rourke, adding that the public can expect a seamless transition.

O'Rourke, 53, will succeed the experienced Schug, who has served as the county's top unelected official since 1994. He has worked with Washington County for 25 years, beginning his career in Stillwater as director of the county's Community Services Department.

Schug's career in county government spans more than 37 years in Crow Wing, Redwood and Washington counties. He started his career as a social worker.

O'Rourke will earn $145,428. Schug's salary was $150,065.

Before coming to Washington County, O'Rourke worked for the city of St. Paul, serving as a policy analyst, city clerk and director of the citizens service office.

O'Rourke said Tuesday the county will begin an internal search for a deputy administrator in coming weeks.