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Cascade Locks Council begins administrator search

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

November 25, 2006

Cascade Locks city councilors and others met Thanksgiving Eve to work on their recruitment for the next city administrator.

The position becomes vacant Dec. 1 when current administrator Bob Willoughby leaves. He has accepted the position of city manager with Florence.

“Essentially this is your process; we’re here to assist you tonight to come up with information for people interested in applying,” said Mike McCauley, executive director for the League of Oregon Cities.

The city council contracted with LOC’s City Administrator Recruitment Service to help. Mayor Ralph Hesgard, city councilors Tiffany Pruit, Cindy Mitchell, and Kerri Jo Osbourn attended the session along with councilors-elect Randy Holmstrom, Tom Cramblett and mayor-elect Roger Freeborn. Port of Cascade Locks Director Chuck Daughtry and resident Tom Brazille also came.

Under the Cascade Locks city charter, the city has an administrator versus a planner. The city council gives the administrator his or her authority through ordinances. In Cascade Locks, the city has the distinction of being self-contained on a variety of fronts. Among the administrator’s responsibilities are managing services for sewer, water, emergency management, Internet, cable T.V. and the city’s power company.

“We’re one of five cities in Oregon (that has its own power and light company),” said Kate Mast, city recorder.

McCauley took the council through a list of attributes to describe what they wanted in a city administrator. He recommended they require, at minimum, someone with a bachelor’s degree in education. Mayor-elect Roger Freeborn felt that should be amended to include someone with equivalent experience.

“That would widen the pool (of candidates),” said McCauley. “There is a tradeoff; you would expand it but then you would have to decide what the qualifications are.”

During the session, the issue of conflict in town came up. Councilor-elect Randy Holmstrom said because of that, he felt the council needed to be clear they needed someone with experience in dealing with elected boards.

“We need someone with that or they will get eaten alive,” he said. “This town is not for the faint of heart.”

Daughtry reminded the council that even with the tension, the position is a very attractive proposition to someone looking to gain experience in city management.

“And I think Bob had a lot to do with that,” he said.

The work session also discussed the importance of having someone who understands how to and can negotiate electric rates with the Bonneville Power Administration, to administer grants, and who can work with diverse groups in the community as well as state and federal governments due to the town’s location. Cascade Locks is surrounded by national forest land, bordered by the Columbia River, and within the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.

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