Chief Administrative Officer

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Meet Chief Administrative Officer Derek Matheson

Derek Matheson 2020 Kent CAO

Derek Matheson is the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) at the City of Kent, the sixth largest city in Washington State. The CAO is appointed by the Mayor to oversee the day-to-day operations of the City. The CAO serves as the Mayor’s direct report in overseeing 10 department directors and acts as the Mayor’s liaison to the Kent City Council.

Early in life Derek found a passion and interest in public service and local government. He is passionate about local government management because of the range of projects and services he has overseen during his tenure. Everything from animal control to zoning and many things in between. He feels local government can make a visible difference in a concentrated geographic area and you can see the results of your work and policies.

Prior to working for the City of Kent, Derek was the City Manager at the City of Covington for seven years and served in various roles at the City of Federal Way for 12 years, including Assistant City Manager and Interim City Manager.

His proudest accomplishments include:

  • Strengthening Kent’s finances, financial policies and making the budget more transparent
  • Maintaining Covington’s strong finances following the Great Recession
  • Building a new Federal Way City Hall
  • Forming the Federal Way Police Department and Municipal Court
  • Pursuing transformational economic development projects in three cities
  • Strengthening relationships with the public, media and other governments
  • Lobbying successfully for millions of dollars in federal and state funding

Derek has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington. His professional affiliations include the International City/County Management Association; the Washington City/County Management Association, where he is the past president; and the King County city managers and administrators group, where he is a co-chair. He is an ICMA Credentialed Manager.

When not at work, Derek loves spending time with his family. Along with his wife Meredith, they have four daughters who keep them busy with school and after school activities. They enjoy spending time on the Coast and enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Contact Derek

To contact Derek, call 253-856-5700 or email him at