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Search firm hired to recruit new West Linn city manager

Council approved contract with Prothman and Associates

The quest for West Linn’s next permanent city manager is now in the hands of a recruitment firm.

The City Council voted unanimously Dec. 7 to approve a $19,500 contract with Prothman and Associates to perform a nationwide search for a new city manager. The firm beat out two competing finalists — Bob Murray Associates and CPS, Inc. — for the job.

Including an estimated $6,000 in expenses, the contract is not to exceed $27,000.

“I’m thrilled that at least the City is going to go through a professional process, and put together a guarantee for the next city manager to make sure we have the right person being the chief executive of this agency,” City Council President Thomas Frank said.

Frank and City Councilor Brenda Perry were heavily involved in the search for a recruiting firm, teaming up with Interim City Manager Don Otterman and Human Resources Manager Elissa Preston.

“This was a very collaborative process, we looked very carefully at all these people,” Perry said. She added that Prothman and Associates —based in Washington — has “lots of local experience, which is very important for West Linn.”

The contract is set to expire June 30, 2016. By then, Prothman and Associates are expected to provide “facilitation/coaching with the city council on the city manager recruitment process; advertisement of the vacant position; outreach to potential candidates; screening of received applications; assistance with the interview process; finalist background and reference checks.”

The City Council will make the final decision on who to hire and select the finalists.

That person will replace former City Manager Chris Jordan, who resigned in August citing concerns that his tenure had become a political issue.

Following Jordan’s departure, councilors suggested a series of approaches for recruiting a new city manager. Earlier Mayor Russ Axelrod has said that he preferred hiring a local HR firm for the search, as opposed to a national search firm. The possibility of an in-house search handled by the HR department was also considered. Ultimately, the council opted to review and interview search firms, but wait until the fifth councilor came aboard before making a final decision on which to select.

The vote to hire Prothman and Associates came just minutes after City Councilor Bob Martin was sworn in.

Patrick Malee can be reached at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..