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Gresham city manager, attorney, evaluated

Gresham City Manager Erik Kvarsten received high praise from city councilors during his Tuesday, Nov. 27, annual evaluation. City Attorney David Ris also was given a positive review during the same meeting.

The two positions are the only ones in Gresham City Hall that the council is responsible for hiring and firing.

Kvarsten has served as city manager since 2004 and “respectfully declined” to comment on his evaluation.

The mayor and seven councilors commented on Kvarsten’s humble, quiet, unassuming management style. Their evaluations of Kvarsten in six categories added up to an impressive average of 4.90 on a scale of 1 to 5 — 5 being above expectations.

Significant achievements include continued leadership despite the city’s dire financial situation. City councilors next week are expected to approve a temporary $7.50 a month fee for all households and businesses to pay in order to avoid further cuts to fire, police and park services. Voters likely will consider a levy to replace the fee in May 2014.

Councilors commented that just the fact that city operations are still chugging along is a major achievement.

General council consensus is that Kvarsten is a topnotch consummate professional doing a phenomenal job of “effectively pressing forward with shrinking resources to provide quality city services and meet the needs of Gresham’ partners,” according to a composite of his performance evaluation.

The city attorney also exceeded the council’s expectations, according to his composite evaluation. He scored an average of 3.98 on the 1-5 scale. Councilors praised Ris for his outstanding job on the charter review, in which he discovered an error in the interpretation of 2004 election results that created a city auditor position.

Although 54 percent of Gresham voters approved a measure to create the city auditor position, because the measure was a charter amendment, it needed more than 60 percent approval to pass.

In response, the city changed the position to report to the city manager instead of the council. Since then, the city auditor has left Gresham City Hall for a new job in San Diego. The position remains vacant.

— Mara Stine




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