Beaverton is making progress with implementing its new city charter before the start of next year.
In May 2019, the Beaverton City Council put forth a proposed city charter to Beaverton voters, which was then approved during the election. The Beaverton Charter of 2021 becomes operational on Jan. 1, 2021.
According to city officials, over the next several months, the city is planning to engage the public in the process of recruiting a city manager. Additionally, voters will choose Beaverton's next mayor and elect a city councilor to a new seat on the council in the November 2020 election.
Currently, Beaverton is the only city in Oregon with a "strong mayor" form of government. This means that the mayor, serving as the chief executive officer, has the authority to appoint city staff, is responsible for city administration and serves as the presiding officer at council meetings.
The new city charter changes the form of government to a council-manager structure. This is typical for Oregon cities with populations more than 2,500, in which the city council hires a chief executive officer — usually with the title of city manager or city administrator — to be responsible for supervising the day-to-day operations of the city government.
"The new city charter outlines specifications to the city's form of government, term limits and languages preferences, including a change in structure that adds a professional city manager into the leadership group who will direct staff and advise the mayor and city council as they identify priorities and make critical decisions about the future of Beaverton," city officials said in a statement.
The search process for an interim city manager — a short-term appointed position, giving City Hall a leader as it transitions to the new form of government — is being coordinated by the city's human resources department.
The city has has hired Heather Gantz, executive recruiting manager with Novak Consulting, a subsidiary of Raftelis, to assist in the search.
City officials hope to have compiled a "profile" of the ideal candidate in September.
Right now, the plan is to name the interim city manager in December, following a search process and candidate interviews. Once selected and hired for the position, the manager would then start work Jan. 2, 2021.
The interim manager will serve while the City Council works to hire for the permanent position. That appointment is expected sometime in the first half of 2021, whether it's naming the interim manager to continue serving at the pleasure of the seven-member council or it's selecting somebody new for the job.
As for salary, the council approved a $180,000 to $208,373 salary range for the city manager position. That will be paid out of the city's general fund.
The council is expanding from its current structure — five part-time city councilors and a full-time mayor who doesn't vote on city ordinances or resolutions — to have seven members, including a voting mayor. Instead of being the city's chief executive, the newly elected mayor will be the presiding officer of the seven-member council, although the new charter specifies that Beaverton mayor is still a full-time position.
The council will be charged with hiring — and, if necessary, firing — the city manager, who will oversee city staff. The council also acts as the city's governing body, adopting policies and plans and providing direction for the city manager.
The mayor's powers are dramatically scaled back under the new charter, even though he or she — Denny Doyle is seeking re-election to a fourth and final term, and two-term Councilor Lacey Beaty is challenging him — will still be considered the city's chief elected official. Duties of the mayor include, and will continue to include, representing the city at regional conferences and meetings, speaking on behalf of the city at ceremonies and events, and leading council meetings.
The new charter also introduces term limits. While the limits are not in effect for the 2020 elections, councilors and the mayor will, in the future, only be permitted to serve three consecutive four-year terms in office for their respective positions.
Other updates in the charter include requiring a public hearing before council adopts any ordinance and implementing gender-neutral language in the city's governing document.
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