Meres: I'd be reluctant to listen to someone coming from Arizona

OttermanConcerns applicants for the Scappoose city manager position might not have the stamina for Oregon’s often-wet weather patterns are clouding the City Council’s desire to recruit from outside the Pacific Northwest.

The Scappoose City Council on Feb. 18 approved a city manager profile compiled by Washington-based recruiting firm Prothman and Associates. The firm will use the profile to advertise for city manager candidates, screen applications and interview applicants.

The City Council and city department managers met with Greg Prothman, the firm’s founder, to determine the attributes considered important or essential for the the new city manager.

The profile agreed upon would pay the selected applicant a yearly salary of $65,964 to $104,340, plus medical, dental, vision and retirement benefits.

The city is seeking an applicant with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or public administration, as well as a minimum of five years experience in local government and at least three years experience in a supervisory or administrative capacity.

After outlining particular aspects of the city and community, the profile describes the responsibilities of its future city manager — acting head of the city. The profile also highlights the challenges and opportunities associates with the position, including working with a limited budget while being pressured to make infrastructure improvements, building the city’s economy and alleviating pressures caused by Columbia County’s potential jail closure.

Scappoose is seeking a new city manager after negotiating the termination of former City Manager Jon Hanken’s contract with the city last November. The City Council opted to pay Hanken one year's severance, totaling $110,000, plus health and retirement benefits.

Of major discussion at the meeting was the distribution of advertising for the position. While interim City Manager Don Otterman said Prothman was prepared to advertise with about 960 letters in 12 western states, some councilors thought it would be best to stick with candidates from the Northwest.

“One thing that concerns me about Arizona ... is that people from Arizona and Colorado ... [Prothman] admitted to me in the interviews that the weather plays a big part in people coming from Arizona, and I could see that in Colorado and Wyoming, too, and Nevada,” said Scappoose City Councilor Barbara Hayden.

“I’d be reluctant to listen to someone coming from Arizona,” said Council President Larry Meres. “I’d prefer the Northwest.”

Otterman said his concern with limiting the amount of states the city reaches out to was the potential the city would receive fewer applications.

“If you limit it to, say, five states for the first two or three weeks, you may get very few,” Otterman said, adding that it could force another recruitment effort. “And the time frames are short anyway because we’re looking at only six weeks of advertising.”

Applications for the position are due to the city by March 30.

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