Lake Oswego City Manager Doug Schmitz helped execute a transformative vision for Lake Oswego.

The city council must now decide whether Schmitz's replacement should carry on in his tradition or blaze a different trail.

The council hopes to find a replacement for Schmitz by November and have that person start Jan. 1.

The first stage of that process will begin this week, as the city searches for a professional recruiting firm to solicit city manager candidates.

The city may choose from five such West Coast firms, according to Assistant City Manager David Donaldson.

At a special session Tuesday, the council debated whether the new city manager should have an agenda, such as urban renewal.

'What are the unique things that will make him fit here?' said Councilor John Turchi. 'Do we want someone who is an extrovert, who has PR skills, who is results oriented? We need to find out from the community.'

The council will consider hosting public meetings to see what residents want in a city manager, and possibly take requests on its Web site.

Councilor Ellie McPeak said the city manager should not come to town with an agenda, such as community redevelopment.

'I view the city council as the policy maker,' said McPeak. 'That's our business. The city manager is supposed to do what we want him to do.'

Regardless of how the council defines the new position, it will be operating under a tight timeline.

Once Donaldson begins, which will be around the first week in September, the council will have six months to hire the permanent city manager, according to city charter.

Because of the holiday season, Mayor Judie Hammerstad said she would like to have the position filled before Thanksgiving.

Donaldson emphasized the importance of a headhunter.

'Having a recruiter out there will serve you well,' he said.

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