Washougal city administrator to take over reigns in Walla Walla

Nabiel Shawa, city administrator in Washougal, Wash., is expected to start here in mid-October.

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WALLA WALLA -- The city administrator for Washougal, Wash., has been selected to become Walla Walla's new city manager.

Nabiel Shawa is expected to begin his job Oct. 19.

Walla Walla City Attorney Tim Donaldson told the Union-Bulletin this morning the City Council reached a consensus to hire Shawa at an executive session Aug. 26. He was one of seven finalists announced earlier.

Shawa has accepted the tentative offer, but the Council will consider finalizing the appointment when it meets Sept. 9. It is anticipated Shawa will receive an initial annual salary of $140,000.

Mayor Dan Johnson said today that while all the candidates had experience, Shawa's zeal for the job impressed him during interviews.

"I just think his enthusiasm just kind of jumped out at me," Johnson said. "He's got great experience at economic development and wants to go out and meet the community. The main thing is, we're looking for someone the community can trust."

Shawa has been with the city of Washougal since 2004. Prior to that, he served the city of Long Beach, Wash., for a combined period of nearly 20 years as city administrator.

Shawa also was the director of general services for Pacific County, Wash.

He received his bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics from Washington State University.

His hiring culminates a five-month recruitment process to replace Duane Cole, who resigned effective April 3 after seven years on the job. He was hired shortly afterward as county manager for Clatsop County, Ore.

More than 60 candidates applied to replace Cole. The seven finalists were selected last month and interviewed Aug. 24 and 25 by four panels consisting of community members, city staff and Council members.

Donaldson said following the Aug. 26 executive session, Mayor Johnson extended a tentative offer to Shawa on Thursday and Shawa said Saturday he would accept the job.

The city's support services director, Tim McCarty, has served as interim city manager since Cole's departure. McCarty -- who was one of the finalists for the permanent job -- will continue in the interim position until Shawa arrives.

Johnson said Shawa will be a good fit for the community.

"We're just excited we've got a good man on board," he said.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319. Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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