The process to select a new city manager for the City of Hood River has progressed to final candidate interviews and a public reception on Tuesday, July 10.
Seven finalists were chosen from a total of 40 applicants resulting from a nationwide search guided by consultant Phil McKenney of Peckham-McKenney based in Roseville, Calif., to replace retiring City Manager Steve Wheeler.
McKenney met with agency leaders, Hood River’s mayor and City Council members, and led a community meeting to develop the candidate profile for Hood River’s ideal city manager. Recently, McKenney presented a short list of contenders to city council that resulted in the invitations for formal interviews. It is expected a new City Manager could be in place in August.
Three separate interview panels will occur on July 10, followed by a public reception for all candidates from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. in Hood River Council Chambers at City Hall. The field will narrow to two to three top candidates who will be invited back for further discussions with City Council on July 11. The seven city manager finalists are Rachael Fuller, Blair Larsen, John McSherry, Will Norris, Jennifer Olson, Susan Parker and Petra Schuetz.
Rachael Fuller of Portland, has 15 years local government experience in rural and urban communities. She spent the past seven years as assistant city manager in Gresham, where she partnered with the city manager on day-to-day operations, as well as other organizational planning and improvement projects. Previously, she was a program coordinator and special project coordinator for the town of Jackson, Wyo., for seven years. Fuller has a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Wyoming, and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College.
Blair Larsen of Hermiston, has been city manager for the City of Stanfield, Ore., for the past five years. There he has been involved in broad city management roles covering human resources, economic development, and water system expansion project oversight. Larsen was previously a senior budget analyst for Broward County, Fla., a large county with 1.7 million population and more than 5,000 employees. He has earned a master’s degree in Public Administration, a juris doctor degree, as well as a bachelor’s in Russian and Media Arts Studies, all from Brigham Young University.
John McSherry has 30 years of management and leadership experience, including comprehensive public planning, 17 of which are with the Port of Skamania County (12 as executive director and five as development manager). He’s also been a member of the Planning Commission and City Council for the City of North Bonneville. He currently owns Technical Services in Portland which performs land development, entitlement services and property management. In the past he co-owned fiber-optic provider Sawtooth Technologies of Stevenson. McSherry has a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Will Norris has served as finance director and assistant city manager for the City of Hood River since 2016. He has managed the city’s finance department and numerous administrative projects including establishment and administration of the city’s first short-term rental licensing program. He was previously Chief Financial Officer for Columbia Gorge Community College, a management assistant in the city manager’s office of Long Beach, Calif., and a special projects officer for the Long Beach Police Dept. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Willamette University and a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration from University of Oregon.
Jennifer Olson of Stanwood, Wash., has 25 years’ experience in finance, public policy and administration. She has been director of finance two years each for the cities of Issaquah and Snohomish, Wash. Before that, she was a small business development consultant for three years for the State of Minnesota. She spent six years as director of business development and finance for the City of Waconia, Minn., holding similar positions in Sartell and Big Lake, Minn. She has a master’s in Public Administration from University of Washington, and a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management from Stritch University.
Susan Parker has been Town Administrator for Sunset Beach, N.C., the past five years, where she resides. She previously served as Town Manager in Crested Butte, Colo., for six years, and Assistant City Manager for Reno, Nev., for two years. She held other management roles in Reno as well. She also served City Administrator for Elroy, Wisc., for two years. Parker has a masters degree in Public Affairs and Public Administration from University of Wisconsin, as well as a bachelors degree in Government and Policy Studies from Beloit College.
Petra Schuetz of Coburg, Ore., served most recently as Assistant Public Works Director for Lane County in 2017-18. Prior to that she served as City Administrator / Planning Director for the City of Coburg for six years, where she oversaw daily operations of administration, public works, police, municipal court, planning and more. Prior, she was an associate planner for Lane Council of Governments for seven years. Schuetz holds a masters degree in Urban Studies and Regional Planning from Portland State University, and a Bachelors of Arts in Political Philosophy from Willamette University.