Administrator Wade Farris leaves Othello, heads to Gig Harbor

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OTHELLO — City Administrator Wade Farris is leaving after nearly five years of working for Othello.

Farris, who has worked in Othello since 2013, will become the next city administrator of Gig Harbor, a town of about 9,100 southwest of Seattle.

“I sort of got recruited by the mayor over there,” Farris said. “My wife has a twin sister, so we have family over there. So, we did this for both professional and personal reasons.”

“It was a very hard decision to make,” he added. “We made good friends here, and got very close to the community.”

“It’s a step up for him, and he has our blessing,” said Mayor Shawn Logan. “And we are very appreciative for his time in Othello, but it’s time to move on.”

Logan said Farris leaves at a critical time, with a number of projects under way in Othello — the emergency redrilling of Well No. 3 after the discovery last fall the original well was crooked, the reconstruction of Olympia Street to ease the construction of a major housing development, and the institution of a plan to secure the city’s water supply.

“There are so many projects going on, many are time critical, we cannot skip a beat,” Logan said.

In fact, Farris considers overseeing the implementation of the water plan — which involves securing additional water rights, improving storage capacity, and the construction of a utility to distribute treated water to water lawns — his greatest achievement during his time in Othello.

“Helping put together a plan for water security is important to the security of Othello,” he said.

As he gets ready to take the helm at Gig Harbor, Farris said he hopes to help that city implement its vision for the future while “keeping itself the same quaint village.”

In addition to his tenure as a city administration, Farris also served 39 years in the U.S. Air Force, both active duty and reserve, before retiring as a major general in November, 2013.

Logan said the city is prepared to move on.

“We have a plan, and we will unveil it at our next city council meeting,” the mayor said. “We will need to ensure the transition is smooth and will ensure continuity.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at countygvt@columbiabasinherald.com.

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