The Thurston County Board of Commissioners had finalized the list of candidates for the open Director of Public Defense position. They hope to make an offer to a candidate by early August.
The position was vacated in February, when the commissioners asked for former director Daryl Rodrigues’ resignation. The commissioners reportedly “lost confidence in Mr. Rodrigues’ ability to lead the department of Public Defense, both financially and through personnel actions.”
An advisory panel and the commissioners narrowed a field of 18 applicants to five people who will be interviewed, according to a Thurston County press release. The names of the candidates haven’t yet been released.
Those five candidates will be interviewed by a panel, which includes a representatives from the Washington State Office of Public Defense, the Northwest Justice Project, the Black Alliance of Thurston County and the Thurston Group of Washington State.
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The top two or three candidates interviewed by the panel will then be interviewed by the commissioners.
“The Public Defense director is a very important position in our community,” said Commission Chair Bud Blake. “We wanted to make sure that we had representatives across the community to help in making this decision.”
Since Rodrigues’ departure, Patrick O’Connor has been acting as interim director of the Office of Public Defense.