Crager selected as next Benton County Chief Financial Officer

Monday, August 23, 2021

Rick Crager will serve as the next Benton County chief financial officer and Financial Services department director, beginning October 1, 2021.

Crager joins the County after over 32 years with the State of Oregon where his experiences included working in housing, education, transportation and public safety. Since 2015, Crager has served as the assistant superintendent of Finance and Information Technology for the Oregon Department of Education. Over the last 16 months, Rick has worked in partnership with Oregon’s 197 school districts to oversee and administer approximately $2 billion of increased federal and state resources designed to support schools and students in recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Rick to Benton County,” said Joe Kerby, Benton County administrator. “He brings a diverse amount of both financial and program management experience. He also generates expertise in providing leadership, developing internal and external relationships, advancing and administering strategic objectives, and effectively navigating through change and adversity. I believe all of these attributes make him a great fit for our organization and our leadership team.”

Crager is a lifelong Oregonian, born in Roseburg and raised by his grandparents in Myrtle Creek. From there, he moved to Salem in 1983 where he attended high school and met Sherry, his wife of 31 years, and raised two wonderful children, Ben and Alyx. Crager is a graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a special focus in Finance.

“I am intrigued by the County’s goals around affordable housing and the work they are doing with the homeless population, and I’m excited about the transportation infrastructure projects that are underway. I have a strong passion for this work, which is a big part of what Benton County is focusing on. I look forward to being part of a supportive team, serving the community, and being part of an organization that shares the same goals and objectives,” said Rick Crager.

Following a national recruitment, Crager was one of three candidates that was invited to participate in final interviews with the Board of Commissioners and members of senior leadership.

Currently, the chief financial officer position is held by Mary Otley. A graduate of Oregon State University, Otley has provided invaluable leadership, strategy, and management to the Benton County organization for over three decades. Otley officially retired on June 30, 2021 and continues to work part-time until Crager officially begins in October.