Mayor admits he intentionally gave vague answers

Interim City Administrator Amanda Zeiber has withdrawn her name from consideration as the permanent city administrator.

The Canby City Council appointed her to the interim post March 5 and she later told the councilors she was interested in the job permanently.

Zeiber, assistant city administrator and the city’s human resources director, felt she would be an appropriate choice given the city’s succession planning and efforts to develop internal candidates.

Previous City Administrator Greg Ellis left March 3 to accept a state job and recommended Zeiber as his successor.

This is her second stint at interim city administrator. She did that job for eight months nearly five years ago after Mark Adcock left.

In her March 13 email, Zeiber said she made herself available to discuss her thoughts on the position, her abilities and implementing some cost-saving ideas, she said.

But over the next two weeks, she said she received no word or follow up from council other than a comment from Councilor Clint Coleman.

And she felt an article in last week’s Canby Herald indicated the City Council was leaning toward an open recruitment.

As such, Zeiber said in her email that she was stepping back to support council in moving forward with an open recruitment.

“As much as I love competition, I think the city will get a better response and more quality candidates if there isn’t an internal candidate being considered,” she said.

During a workshop before the March 19 meeting, Mayor Brian Hodson said he hoped Zeiber’s decision was not based on the newspaper article.

“My piece with the newspaper article was just that,” he said. “It was a newspaper article. It was not saying we were deciding to do one way or another. We hadn’t yet.

“I just gave them an answer that was vague on both ends, and intentionally. It’s the Herald – sometimes -- doesn’t -- it has not been the best in reporting accurately and so I convoluted the issue. I apologize for that.”

Zeiber was qualified for the position, but Hodson said he felt they needed to go out and post it and do open recruiting for it.

“In the last couple of years I have had the opportunity to interact with a number of city managers who I would love to come in and have a shot at, somebody like Scott Lazenby who is in Lake Oswego or Jason Tuck who seems to be happy in Happy Valley. They’re both city managers that I respect who are doing a lot of good things.”

Zeiber, he said, would be a city manager someday, he said, and encouraged her to apply. Going through the process would be a good experience and show her how she stacked up against others out there.

And if she came out the best, it would also quell any community pushback that the city was doing outright promotion, he added.

Councilors Coleman, Tim Dale, Terri Hensley, Todd Rocha, Ryder and Greg Parker also encouraged Zeiber to apply for the job through the process.

“I think it’s clear to me from a political standpoint, you want to go out, and I can support that, and serve in a role that I think will be good and beneficial for the city,” Zeiber said. “It was disheartening …. zero communication in a two-week period. I would have liked to have heard some feedback in some way.”

Councilor Tim Dale said there should be no asterisk by her name, he said. If the selection was made in an open, public process, there would be no questions.

Coleman said the city has a number of projects underway, including a civic center-library.

“I just don’t want to see us losing momentum going forward with some unknown person,” he said. “If we do go out, we have to be very careful who we bring on board.”

Ryder said, “I really do believe in an open process, and we do want to get the best for that position and the only way we can really find out is going through this process.”

Parker said his was a political decision. “I just think that the politics of the city are that the citizens would expect an open recruitment. I think we need to go out, and you need to make the decision based on that decision.”

Zeiber said she wanted to do the recruiting internally and will submit a proposal at the April 2 meeting the city’s recruiting options.

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