Yamashita provides guidance to council on succession plan after her retirement

With City Manager Kim Yamashita's imminent retirement, the Sandy City Council is feeling the pressure to find her replacement. At the Aug. 8 meeting, councilors discussed starting a search process to bring in prospective candidates.

When former city manager Seth Atkinson resigned his position in 2016, Yamashita was designated internally to act as interim city manager, then eventually hired.

Though council and city staff approved of the move, there were citizens who disagreed with the city's decision to forgo a formal search.

Now, without a succession plan in place, and with public opinion in mind, the council plans to get the word out about the opening via organizations like the League of Oregon Cities and other advertisements soon.

Yamashita recommended that council not limit its qualifications to strictly people with city management experience.

This suggestion she passed on from a meeting with city staff. Several department heads expressed the need for a leader, but not necessarily someone who has done the exact job.

"(The department heads) would like us to be a little more forward thinking in our selection process," Yamashita explained. "Not just look for a city manager. The reason cited was that those can be a political position and somebody looking out for their best interest rather than the city's best interest. They want somebody with a little less fearfulness, and the ability to just lead."

Yamashita herself came into the position fresh from her former position as chief of the Sandy Police Department.

"Having been in this role from the police chief's perspective, it's a challenge, and there's a lot to learn, but that isn't the hard part of the job," she added. "The hard part of the job and where you really need, in my opinion, someone who can excel, is in those relationships (with staff) to get everybody moving forward in the right direction and loving the culture that we have."

Though she said experience as a city manager might not be the top priority, she mentioned an interest in her successor having a relationship with the community, which she said helped in her time in the position.

The discussion of how the search will be conducted was tabled, to be opened again at a City Council workshop meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14.

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