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Council chooses David Clyne after needing extension in search for permanent manager

PMG FILE PHOTO - David ClyneGresham City Council has tapped a seasoned veteran to serve as the second interim city manager after delays in finding a permanent leader for the role.

Council unanimously voted to hire David Clyne to serve as city manager pro tem, with a term beginning Thursday, Jan. 7. He was the only candidate publicly interviewed after another finalist accepted a different position.

The role isn't expected to last long, as the city is interviewing finalists to serve as the permanent city manager next week. They indicated an official hiring should occur within the next 45-60 days.

"What we are looking for is a seasoned city manager who can assist us in guiding the city forward," said Mayor Travis Stovall.

Eric Schmidt, Gresham's director of community development and city services, filled the pro tem role for six months after former City Manager Erik Kvarsten retired. Schmidt took point on figuring out the best way for the city to address a budget deficit and secured support for those suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Gresham City Charter does not allow the same person to fill the interim role twice, forcing council to seek another candidate after their search for a long-term hire was extended. Council plans on interviewing finalists for the role next week during a council meeting.

"Eric Schmidt has been an incredible leader through all of this — I can't thank (him) enough on behalf of the city I love," Stovall said.

Clyne comes to Gresham after four decades of experience leading organizations and cities. During the interview he stressed his intention of listening to council while smoothing any transition period between himself and his long-term successor.

"When you have chosen that person I will be able to collaborate with them and share what I have seen," Clyne said. "I think you want someone to keep the ship afloat and not have projects be dropped."

Clyne spent more than 10 years serving as city manager in Independence, Oregon, and most recently served as interim manager in Falls City in 2020. He also was brought on as interim manager in Newberg as the city faced fallout surrounding a race discrimination lawsuit. He was also named as one of a half-dozen defendants in a federal civil rights suit alleging retaliation for whistleblowing.

Clyne stated he was brought into Newberg to help bring peace within the chaotic city hall as well find an incoming replacement city manager.

"I don't believe I was the cause of that turmoil, I think I helped resolve it," he said.

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