Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Will DeMarco
Gazette Reporter 

New Whitcom director named


August 30, 2018 | View PDF

The Whitcom Executive Board named its new executive director during a special closed meeting last week.

Tara Murker, a Puyallup resident with almost 25 years of experience in the field, was selected to head the county's 911 dispatch center in Pullman. Most recently a communications manager at the University of Washington Police Department for the past two years, Murker began her career taking calls at the King County Sheriff's in 1994.

The executive director position has been vacant since January when Patti Kelly retired after 20 years, citing an excess of duties and an overworked schedule.

Earlier this month, Whitcom's Board narrowed their search to three candidates and invited them to an open house to meet members of the public. Along with Murker, the top candidates included former Interim Whitcom Director and Information Technology Director Mark Bailey of Palouse and Asotin County Sheriff's Office Captain and E-911 Coordinator Dan Hally of Clarkston.

City Planner Adam Lincoln, who announced the decision last Wednesday, said Murker's professional development helped her stand out from the rest of the candidate field.

“One draw was how [Tara] moved up the ranks as a dispatcher over the years,” Lincoln said. “With her mix of personality and qualifications, I think she'll do a very good job in the role.”

According to Lincoln, Murker's previous work in Seattle will translate nicely to her new role in the smaller, more rural Whitman County.

“I think the fact that she's worked in such complex organizations will carry over really well,” Lincoln stated.

Lincoln explained that while a start date for Murker is unclear, contract negotiations with Whitcom's Board are ongoing and expected to be finished within a few days. Salary range for the position is listed at $100,000 to $125,000.

Murker was unable to be reached for comment.


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