Heather Russell, Centralia city clerk and 14 year Centralia resident has been tapped by Centralia’s board of aldermen to become the city’s interim city administrator.
Current City Administrator Matt Harline made the announcement Tuesday afternoon. Harline will be leaving his position at May’s end to become the Holts Summit city administrator.
Russell has worked for the city since 2004 when she was hired as an assistant city clerk. In 2007, she was promoted to deputy clerk and has served as city clerk since 2011.
Russell will serve as interim while an as yet-to-be-formed aldermanic search committee looks for Harline’s permanent replacement.
Harline said the process could take between three and six months and the aldermen could begin discussing the search committee’s composition as early as their May 21 meeting.
“As interim, Heather will have all the power, responsibilities and headaches of the regular position,” Harline said of his successor. “The board could not have found somebody who has a better understanding of the city and how it works than Heather Russell.”
He said there were two applicants for the interim position.
Russell and her husband Ryan have five children, four in the Centralia School district attending grades five through 11.
“I hope to serve the city of Centralia as best that I can,” Russell said when asked her goals for the position. Regarding challenges facing the position, she said: “The city has a lot of big projects. To start I want to make sure they all run smoothly and are completed on time.”
Russell continued: “I am excited for the opportunity to serve the City of Centralia as interim city administrator. I look forward to the challenge of the position and the chance to work with many members of this wonderful community. The city staff and department heads are very supportive and will undoubtedly make the transition an easier one.”
When not working at the city office, Russell is involved with her community. She volunteers with the annual Centralia Chamber of Commerce barbecue contest, serves as a member of the Centralia Chamber of Commerce board of directors and vice president of the Centralia Panther Boosters.
Harline said that Russell will continue to serve as city clerk while acting as interim city administrator, “but many of her duties will be shifted to the other members of her staff.”