GOLD BEACH Curry Countys new commissioner will be Rachelle Schaaf, currently the program director for the Curry County Commission on Children and Families.

The commissioners will officially vote Schaaf in at their consent calender meeting today (June 13) at 10 a.m.

She is scheduled to be sworn in at 10 a.m. Thursday in the courtroom upstairs in the Curry County Courthouse.

Commissioners Lucie La Bont and Marlyn Schafer had to make their final decision by Friday, but surprised people by choosing Schaaf soon after concluding oral interviews with all three candidates Monday morning.

Schafer said they didnt want to leave the candidates hanging any longer than necessary. She said Olive Wooldridge had to leave after the oral interviews to attend a graduation in California.

Schafer said she also didnt want to keep the City of Port Orford up in the air over what would happen with City Manager Martha Weaver-Britell.

Schafer and La Bont said they talked briefly after the interviews and realized they were ready to make a decision.

Both said the final decision between Schaaf and Weaver-Britell wasnt easy.

I spent time with each of the candidates last week, said La Bont, and found two who were very highly qualified. I wish we could have picked two.

We agonized over it, said Schafer. There were good candidates.

She said she decided on Schaaf during the oral interviews, though it was close even then.

I think Rachelle shined, said Schafer. She showed a lot of energy. I liked her innovative ideas, such as a pool for health insurance. She gave bright answers. It put me over the edge.

We needed to look to the future, said La Bont. Her leadership qualities stood out. She was also already part of the county family.

She said it was unusual for a young person like Schaaf, 31, to put herself forward for such an important position.

La Bont said shed gone back and forth on the decision between Schaaf and Weaver-Britell for the past two weeks.

Schaaf said the decision surprised and briefly overwhelmed her.

I feel tremendously honored, she said. Honored by the Democratic Central Committee and by the commissioners. Im just delighted.

Schaaf said she was glad the commissioners made the decision when they did. Ive been on pins and needles.

As for the future, Schaaf said, I would like to stabilize the county, the budget. Id like to work on our systems within the county so we give good service.

I will listen as much as possible. I want to utilize our advisory committees and management team.

Many solutions are already here, and require us working together to maximize local resources.

Schaaf said it isnt unprecedented to have young leaders in Curry County. She said Jim and Renee Kolen were in their early 30s when they were elected assessor and county clerk, respectively.

I do have a gift for getting along with people and understanding the community across the generations, said Schaaf. Im glad the commissioners recognized that.

She said she is also glad that the selection process is over.