Pete Edison likely to take over as mayor; city manager position on hold

After losing their planner, manager, attorney and mayor since last fall, Banks city officials are scrambling to fill the vacancies.

According to interim City Manager Jolynn Becker, the city signed a contract with Scott Siegel of Siegel Planning LLC to replace former city planner K.J. Won, who retired March 31 after nearly two decades with the city.

Siegel, who did some work for the city more than a decade ago, was one of two applicants for the position. He is expected to work 55 hours a month, and will be paid $80 per hour. His associates are paid $50 per hour, according to Becker.

Banks City Council President Pete Edison is serving as the interim mayor until the April council meeting, when council members can vote to appoint him as mayor.

And Becker has contacted Reeve & Kearns, a Portland law firm, about replacing former city attorney Jim Lucas of Forest Grove, who died last December after a battle with cancer.

Former mayor John Kinsky, who resigned three weeks ago after moving to Hillsboro, recommended Reeve & Kearns in one of his final official acts.

“They’re not only a good fit but a perfect solution for us,” Kinsky said. “I think they’re the right people.”

Becker is currently reviewing a contract with the firm.

Meanwhile, City Council members and city staff are still trying to make progress amidst the absences--moving forward with zoning ordinance changes and water-utility improvements.

They are also looking for interested citizens to help with several volunteer openings, including two on the seven-member planning commission.

The commission reviews building, land-use and zoning applications to make sure they comply with codes before recommending them to the City Council.

Currently, members must live within Banks city limits. In an effort to recruit more commissioners, however, city councilors are discussing whether to accept those who simply own property within the city limits.

Last week, city councilors appointed Gene Stout to the budget committee, which reviews staff suggestions regarding next year’s budget.

The committee still has two seats open, including one just vacated by Lanai Kinsky, the former mayor’s wife.

There are also two open positions on the Tree Board, which keeps track of requests to remove or replace trees on public property.

City Council members are currently discussing the idea of combining the Tree Board and the Parks Management Committee.

“It makes more sense because they overlap” and it has been difficult to keep both committees full, Becker said.

The search for a city manager is on the back burner during this time of transition.

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