Newberg officials meet with interim city manager candidates
The search for Newberg's next city manager rolls on as the city has formed a City Manager Recruitment Subcommittee to serve for one year to find the city's next top official.
City Manager Joe Hannan is slated to retire at the end of August after three years at his post.
City Council members Elise Yarnell Hollamon, Patrick Johnson and Elizabeth Curtis Gemeroy were appointed to the subcommittee on June 20. The trio will make recommendations to find and appoint an interim city manager while a larger search is conducted. The group, which Hollamon volunteered to serve as chairwoman, will also make recommendations on recruiting and hiring a permanent city manager.
The council has traditionally relied on such subcommittees to make recommendations.
The city has previously indicated it would be open to using a national search firm to find the next city chief, although that decision would be left to the council.
Hannan said the city has a number of options. The first is to find an interim replacement to carry city business forward while a larger search occurs. This can either be someone from the outside the existing administration, such as a local former city manager, or an internal department head. Hannan said a Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments representative told the council there are probably three or four nearby candidates, either past managers or finance managers, who "could give the council time to deliberate and find the right person they want."
The trouble with promoting an internal candidate, Hannan has said, is how that person's other responsibilities fall or are divvied up once he or she steps into the manager's shoes. Likewise, the risk of choosing an internal candidate on an interim basis is they may scare off others from applying for the position, as they may assume the internal candidate has the upper hand.
Mayor Rick Rogers deferred questions to Hollamon, but did confirm that the subcommittee conducted interviews for interim candidates. Johnson also was not available for comment on the interview process.
Hollamon said the subcommittee's work was going well and it had narrowed the search for an interim candidate down to two. She added that they will be making a recommendation to the council on July 1 for a pro tem replacement, which is when the name will be released.
"We are very confident, he comes with a lot of city manager experience," she said of the interim candidate the subcommittee is recommending.
She explained that from there, the subcommittee will continue looking to find Hannan's permanent replacement, which will come via a national search using a recruiting firm, which they estimate to take no longer than a year.
"The committee will work to find a permanent replacement and that will be an inclusive, transparent process for the public to be involved in," Hollamon said.
The applicant pool would likely be made up of candidates from Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho, Hannan has said, although Californian candidates may be out of the city's price range.
Hannan has offered to stay on and help with the recruitment and hiring process, and plans to remain around Newberg even after retirement.
After an advertising process, the city will winnow candidates down to a few finalists. After that, city councilors may choose to visit the finalists' hometowns after interviews.
One concern city officials have going forward is the high turnover rate the position has seen in the past few years. Hannan held his post for three years. His two most recent predecessors, Dan Danicic and Jackie Betz, resigned from the post amid ongoing controversies.