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Fairview names Nelson as interim city administrator

The Fairview City Council selected Finance Director Samantha Nelson to become its interim city administrator beginning June 1.

Nelson is replacing City Administrator Joe Gall, who accepted an offer in April to become city manager for Sherwood in Washington County. Gall submitted his 30-day resignation Wednesday, May 18.

The Fairview City Council unanimously approved Nelson's appointment as interim city administrator Wednesday. Besides continuing as finance director, Nelson will serve as city administrator on a trial basis until Sept. 28, when the City Council will decide how it wants to proceed with hiring a permanent city administrator.

Nelson, who has served as finance director since July 2008, said she's excited about her new role, noting it's been a personal goal since she started working in government.

Nelson said a big challenge will be working with a much smaller budget, as the city's 2012-13 budget has proposed several cuts to non-essential city services, resulting in employee layoffs and the possible end of popular city-sponsored events.

Nelson said the budget committee has suggested restoring funding for the East Metro Mediation program and for a senior citizens' activities program in the budget. The city also is in contract negotiations with employees, she said.

The city also has a few small projects on the horizon, she said.

'There are multiple things we're dealing with, but we've got a great management team and employees,' she said. 'I have no doubt we'll come out much better in the end.'

Before becoming Fairview's finance director, Nelson was the finance director for the city of Independence in Polk County for more than a year. She is a graduate of Western Oregon University and of Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

Nelson said she worked as an office manager at Independence-Monmouth Family Medicine for 13 years and credits Dr. Keith White for encouraging her to get her master's degree in business administration. She said the company's involvement in the community also inspired her decision to start a career in public service.

'When I was looking to transition out of the medical field, government was what attracted me,' she said. 'I like local government. I like working with citizens and seeing the tangible benefits of what you are doing, and getting to know people.'

Mayor Mike Weatherby praised Nelson as bright, knowledgeable and respected among staff, and for her ability to work well with everyone.

'(Since the announcement) I've had people approach me and say, 'You made a good decision,' ' Weatherby said.

Gall also praised the selection of Nelson.

'When I hired Samantha back in 2008, I definitely saw the professional skills and knowledge that could easily transfer into the role of city administrator someday and am excited for her to tackle this upcoming challenge,' Gall said. 'Fairview will be in excellent hands with Samantha.'

Nelson resides in Sandy with her husband, Dave Nelson, who is a former Troutdale city administrator, and their three children; they have six children in total.

As finance director and interim city administrator, Nelson's salary will remain at $92,856, plus an additional $1,000 per month.




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