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Carnation hires new city manager

Carnation's new city manager, Candice Bock, 33, began her duties Sept. 18. She replaces Gary Long, who has worked as interim manager since April of this year.

Bock spent the past seven years working for the city of Lakewood near Fort Lewis. She held a number of different economic development positions during her stint there; most recently serving as assistant city manager.

Becoming Carnation's city manager is a step up for Bock, who said she was looking for an opportunity to advance her career.

"I knew from the time I was in school that I wanted to be a city manager and after seven years of working in a new broad-based city, I feel prepared to take over as Carnation's city manager," she said.

Bock was raised in Woodland, Wash. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. During her college years, she worked as an economic development intern for the city of Colorado Springs. After graduating, she spent two years working (again in economic development) for the city of Richland.

Carnation Mayor Bill Paulsen is delighted to have Bock work for the city. "She has experience in several areas that are going to be key to our success. We're just excited to have her come on board. She has economic development skills that we'll be able to use," said Paulsen.

Bock also received accolades from interim city manager Gary Long. "She's been in municipal government for 10 years. My impression is that she's very capable," he said.

Bock is optimistic about the role she will play in Carnation's future. "I think Carnation is a charming community. My vision is to help the city maintain its charm, but also achieve its full potential. I would like to keep Carnation's small-town feel," Bock said.

Bock will receive an annual salary of $85,000. Her duties include supervising the city's eight employees and overseeing the police contract. Her first priority will be to prepare a budget to present to the City Council. In fact, Bock said that creating a tenable budget will be her biggest challenge.

"Financial resources are limited and it will be a challenge to meet the service levels the citizens want and expect," she said.

Another priority is to figure out a way to budget for the hiring of a public works director. Bock said she and Long have discussed ways in which it might be possible to hire a public works director in 2007. "We really need someone to pull the sewer and water and transportation projects together," she said.

Another of Bock's duties will be writing grants, as Carnation does not have a dedicated grant writer.

Bock said she also plans to explore ways in which the city's economic base can be expanded and still stay within budget restraints. She said it might be possible to ask volunteers to help care for the city's parks.

Public involvement in city government is critical, according to Bock, and she said she will work to find ways to make it easier for the public to become involved in city government. "I will have an open-door policy for constituents. I want people to feel welcome to come to City Hall any time they have a question or a concern. I also believe the public should have easy access to public records."

Bock also said she will strive to keep public meetings open whenever possible. "There are times when closed meetings are necessary under state law, but I feel that we should err on the side of being open," she said.

Bock and her husband Mark have placed their Lakewood home on the market and until it sells, Bock will commute. She said that when she's not working, she and her husband and their 3-year-old son engage in family activities. She said one of Carnation's appeals for her is that it is family friendly. Bock and her husband used to enjoy hiking, before their toddler became too big to lug around in a pack, and she also enjoys puttering around in the garden. "I am an amateur gardener, trying not to kill off what I plant," she said.

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