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Council OKs short- term city manager: David Donaldson

by:  Donaldson

The Lake Oswego City Council agreed unanimously to make assistant city manager David Donaldson interim city manager during a meeting at city hall Tuesday night.

'I think we are so fortunate to have someone with David's skills and his professionalism,' councilor Donna Jordan said. 'He's worked with a lot of people in this town and knows a lot of people who I think will appreciate having him step in and take over this important leadership role.'

Council president Sally Moncrieff agreed.

'He has been very involved in the community,' she said.

The endorsement allows city manager Alex McIntyre to sign a contract with Donaldson to act as chief executive of Lake Oswego's government for at least one year, during which the council can begin efforts to recruit a permanent replacement. McIntyre announced in January that he plans to leave his post to become city manager in Menlo Park, Calif. His resignation takes effect Feb. 22.

Donaldson, who has worked for the city for about five years, will assume his new role Feb 23. Under his new contract, his pay will climb from $136,426 to $150,070, with monthly contributions of $500 to a deferred compensation plan and an extra week of paid vacation.

That's $33,000 less than McIntyre's compensation package.

'There is a net savings with him taking over,' McIntyre said.

Donaldson's agreement will last for one year with an option to roll over monthly for up to six months.

In January, the council decided to delay choosing a longer-term replacement for McIntyre until after the November elections, punting the job of hiring a city manager to a new group of elected leaders. Three councilors and the mayor are up for re-election this year. So far, the mayor and one councilor have said they don't plan to run for another term.

Concerns about the city's political environment also factored in the delay. McIntyre has pointed to ongoing friction on the council as a deterrent to potential city manager candidates. The person ultimately hired for the long run will work closely with the council.

When he was hired in 2008, McIntyre recently said, 'I was walking into a council that had a good working relationship. Although there were different opinions on the council, there was a clear direction moving forward.'

Meanwhile, he said, 'philosophical differences' have also emerged over the city's form of government - over whether a government with power concentrated in the mayor would serve the community better than today's council-manager arrangement - another possible contributor to council conflicts.