OLYMPIA – After a national recruitment process, the Thurston County Board of Commissioners have appointed Patrick O'Connor as the new Director of Public Defense.
O'Connor's last served as the interim Public Defense Director during a national recruitment process to find the best candidates for the positon.
The Board of County Commissioners invited numerous community representatives and subject matter experts to be part of the interview process and provide recommendations to the board. Representatives included
- Washington State Office of Public Defense
- Retired Supreme Court Justice
- NW Justice Project
- Black Alliance of Thurston County
- Thurston Group of Washington
The community advisory panel was responsible for narrowing 18 applicants down to five for an initial interview. The first interview panel then made a recommendation of the top three candidates for a second interview with the Commissioners.
"The Public Defense Director is a vital position in our community," said Commission Chair, Bud Blake. "We always want to ensure that we have representation from the community to help in making decisions of this magnitude."
The commissioners held a vote during a public meeting on Thursday, July 27, 2017, where the majority of the board requested the county manager offer the position to O'Connor. After completing the required background checks, the county manager offered the position to O'Connor. He has accepted and will begin in his role as the director effective immediately.