The lead staff member for Snohomish County's negotiations to bring a NASCAR track to the area quit this month to become Marysville's new public-works director. Paul Roberts, who worked...

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EVERETT — The lead staff member for Snohomish County’s negotiations to bring a NASCAR track to the area quit this month to become Marysville’s new public-works director.

Paul Roberts, who worked for County Executive Aaron Reardon for less than year, also had served as Everett’s planning director.

Roberts said he made the move, which will mean a $14,000-a-year pay cut, primarily for personal reasons. His new job will give him more control over his schedule, he said.

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Roberts led the county’s discussions with International Speedway Corp., a racetrack developer that chose a site north of Marysville for the NASCAR track. Discussions with the corporation ended last month because of a disagreement over how much money the company should contribute to the project.

Reardon said Roberts “was a valued member of our team,” adding his departure did not reflect on his work for the county.

“He played an important supporting role in the first year of our administration,” Reardon said.

Marysville Chief Administrative Officer Mary Swenson said she was pleased to have Roberts come to work for the city. He will oversee about 80 public-works employees in Marysville and help the city pursue economic-development opportunities, including development of the 850 acres formerly proposed for the racetrack.

Roberts said he was looking forward to working in Marysville. “That’s where the wave of growth is,” he said.

Next week will be Roberts’ last at the county. He starts in Marysville Jan. 3.

Emily Heffter: 425-783-0624 or eheffter@seattletimes.com