Newberg city manager resigns
Newberg will soon return to familiar territory as it begins the search for a new city manager.
On Oct. 25, Dan Weinheimer announced to the City Council that he would resign his post on Friday. He served in the position for 20 months after being swore in on Feb. 24, 2020.
"It was time for the next person to step in and guide the city," he said in an email interview.
As part of the city's council-manager form of government, Weinheimer was responsible for managing nearly 150 employees in nine departments and answered directly to the council.
He is the most recent in a list of nearly 10 individuals to hold the post of permanent or interim Newberg city manager over the past dozen years. He followed in the footsteps of two disgraced city managers who were forced from office, as well as individuals who oversaw a city government facing civil lawsuits, criminal investigations, court judgements and the exodus of employees.
Council members said at the time of Weinheimer's hire from a pool of nearly three dozen applicants and five finalists that he would be charged with returning responsible city government to Newberg, a task he welcomed.
"I have kept abreast of what I could related to the ongoing turmoil within the organization," Weinheimer said in a February 2020 story in this newspaper. "It's really hard to know how, as a new city manager and outsider to the community, I will be able to address the specifics but I have had experience in change management with previous positions. It is concerning that the internal culture appears broken, but the people I met and have interacted with in the organization appear dedicated to the community and to a turnaround within the organization."
Weinheimer said "working to address internal organizational needs and (trying) to stabilize the organization" were among the accomplishments he is most proud of during his tenure. Others included the city's response to the pandemic while continuing to provide services to residents, hiring several department heads "that I hope will contribute to the community for years to come," and improving customer service and transparency while advancing the vision goals of the council and the community.
Completing adoption of the city's urban renewal authority and reaching its economic goals are two goals in particular Weinheimer said he wished he could have completed before leaving.
The 47-year-old said he has not taken a position elsewhere, adding "I plan to take some time off before I seek another position."
That position will likely be in a familiar setting. HYPERLINK "https://www.newbergoregon.gov/citymanager/page/administrador-de-la-ciudad-dan-weinheimer" " Yes, I plan to continue in local government," Weinheimer said. "I really believe that local government can, and must, be great. It's a place where people can come together to address their collective needs. It's hard now but, looking at history, it's never been an easy career path. I love working with people from the community to identify solutions to specific needs."
Weinheimer's advice for his successor was straightforward: "This is a challenging time to be in local government, but Newberg has many exciting projects coming forward. The next city manager here will find many willing staff and community members that want a well-functioning city organization and who will contribute to Newberg's future. Take the time to get to know the community and come with a learner's mindset."
Weinheimer added that, ultimately, his time in Newberg was a positive one.
"I have made some lasting friendships and I hope that I helped to move things forward positively," he said.
The council appointed library director Will Worthey as interim city manager for the next six months while the search for a permanent candidate ensues.
"The announcement (of Weinheimer's departure) was not a complete surprise," Newberg Mayor Rick Rogers said in an email. "Like many cities, Newberg is experiencing staff turnover in a number of areas and the leadership positions are no exception."
Rogers further explained that the city's staffing shortages "are compounded by functional challenges imposed by COVID," but that hasn't affected the quality of service to residents.
"Though short staffed, I have been very impressed by the staff's dedication to the mission and feel most things are running as smoothly as possible given the environment."
Rogers said the timelines and process to name a long-term replacement for Weinheimer will be developed during future council meetings and also involve Worthey, city staff and include public input.
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