220 Fourth Avenue South, Kent WA 98032 - (253) 856-5200


The Official Website of the City of Kent

Office of the Mayor

Kent Mayor Cooke names new chief administrative officer and finance director

KENT, Wash. – July 7, 2014 – Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke announced the appointments of Derek Matheson as chief administrative officer (CAO) and Aaron BeMiller as finance director. 


Derek Matheson, currently city manager for the city of Covington, will begin on August 11.   


Mayor Cooke said Derek brings over 20 years of experience as a city leader.   


“Derek has a passion for local government management and has demonstrated skills as an outstanding communicator and consensus builder.  In Covington he has improved the city’s organizational culture and reputation, strengthened its finances and implemented numerous economic development programs,” Cooke said. 


Prior to Covington, Matheson was the assistant and interim city manager for the city of Federal Way.  He has a B.A. and a M.P.A. from the University of Washington. 


As Kent’s CAO, Matheson will be responsible for virtually all of city’s day-to-day operations including economic development, finance, human resources, parks, police and six other departments.


"I'm thrilled Mayor Cooke has asked me to join her team as the city’s next chief administrative officer,” said Matheson.  “I'm excited to be part of a community with a strong and growing economy, vibrant neighborhoods, and people from all over the world.  I look forward to working with the mayor, city council, leadership team, and an outstanding staff to advance the city's strategic goals in the years to come."  


Aaron BeMiller is the budget and finance director/county treasurer for Clatsop County, Oregon.   


Prior to this role, BeMiller was the Pierce County budget manager for six years, where he managed an $894 million annual operating and capital budget.  He has a decade of municipal government experience with Seattle and Renton, including as a financial analyst for Seattle Center.  BeMiller has a B.A. from Western Washington University and a M.P.A. from Seattle University. 


BeMiller begins in Kent July 24.  He will oversee the city’s financial operations including a 33-employee department. 


BeMiller says he is both honored and excited to join the city of Kent and the Finance Department team.   


“Having lived in the Puget Sound region for most of my life, I am well aware of all Kent has to offer, from its wonderful cultural diversity, to its beautiful parks and recreation opportunities and economic vitality.  I look forward to continuing the terrific work that has already begun to strengthen the city’s financial standing, provide customers with high quality service, and maintain transparency of the city’s fiscal operations,” BeMiller said. 


The appointments follow the retirements of former CAO John Hodgson and Finance Director Robert Nachlinger.  


Cooke thanked key staff for ably filling interim roles during the search process: City Attorney Tom Brubaker as CAO, Assistant Finance Director Paula Barry as finance director and Deputy City Attorney Pat Fitzpatrick as city attorney.  


“They all have done outstanding jobs. Kent is fortunate to have such qualified employees step up during this period of transition,” Cooke said. “I’m pleased all of them are staying on and returning to their prior roles.” 


Media Contact: 

Michelle Wilmot, Kent Community and Public Affairs