Goodhue County Administrator Scott Arneson is a finalist for Ramsey County's top job.
Names of the seven candidates for the open county manager position were made public Wednesday.
"It's a tremendous opportunity for an individual, and is probably one of the top county positions in the state working directly in our state's capitol," Arneson said Thursday.
"I'm honored to be in the finalist group."
Patrick O'Connor has been Ramsey County's interim manager since September, when David Twa accepted a position in Contra Costa, Calif.
The finalists were selected from a pool of 39 applicants.
They will be interviewed Dec. 17 and 19.
"The seven finalists represent the best and brightest of local leadership today," said Rafael Ortega, Ramsey County Finance, Personnel and Management Committee chair.
Arneson came to Goodhue County in January 2007, replacing David Hamilton.
The job change would be a pay increase for Arneson, whose current salary is $120,598.
The 2009 salary cap for the Ramsey County job is $150,065 said Gail Blackstone, Ramsey County Human Resources Director.
Arneson said his decision to try for another job "doesn't mean we don't like things here. That's far from the case."
He said he and his family -- wife, Nina, and sons Brady and Blake -- love Goodhue County and have felt "very welcomed here."
But his wife's daily commute from Red Wing to her job in Woodbury, Minn., supervising Washington County's Minnesota WorkForce Center branch is time consuming, Arneson said.
"She's lost considerable mom time," he said.
The Ramsey County job would put the family closer to Woodbury.
Arneson has already informed all county staff he is a finalist for the job.
He said he is "extremely pleased and honored with the progress and relationships that have been made by the county staff, management and County Board the past two years."
Other finalists are:
- Norman Cummings, Waukesha County (Wis.) director of administration
- David Haley, Ramsey County Community Human Services Department assistant to the director
- MayKayo Hang, Wilder Foundation
- David Hemze, Carver County administrator
- Julie Kleinschmidt, Ramsey County finance director
- Theresa Brumfield Speiker, Ramsey County director of intergovernmental relations and special initiatives.