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Williams, who served as interim city manager in 2020, takes over after departure of Gabrielatos

PMG FILE PHOTO - WILLIAMSWest Linn City Council unanimously approved a contract for new City Manager John Williams, who has served as West Linn community development director and deputy city manager for the past five years, at a meeting Monday, Sept. 12.

The two-year contract mostly mirrors the employment agreement for previous city manager Jerry Gabrielatos, according to Council President Rory Bialostosky, who negotiated the contract with Williams and the city attorney's office. Bialostosky and City Attorney Bill Monahan explained that there were a few places where the contract differed from Gabrielatos' agreement to account for different circumstances and market changes.

Monahan said Williams will not serve a probationary period, as Gabrielatos did, because of a city policy that says that employees who have served in a high-level position in an interim capacity do not need to undergo a probationary period. Williams served as interim city manager for about eight months in 2020 before the city hired Gabrielatos.

Councilors thanked Williams for his years of dedication to the community and expressed confidence in his ability to lead the city.

"You're beloved by staff. You're beloved by the community. You go out of your way to meet people where they are and solve problems, and I think that's the key point of this job," Mayor Jules Walters said.

Williams shared his gratitude with the council and excitement to continue working with the council, city staff and the community.

Monahan explained that Williams' salary of $180,000 per year was based on an analysis of city manager compensation in similar cities throughout the region. The figure is slightly more than a 10% raise from Williams' current pay as deputy city manager and community development director, in line with a city policy that states that promoted city employees receive a raise of at least 10%. According to information provided to the council by Human Resources Director Elissa Preston, the city manager of Happy Valley, which is roughly the same size as West Linn, earned $181,605 in 2021 and the city manager of Wilsonville, which is slightly smaller, made $192,464.

The new contract spells out that Williams will be eligible for a 3% pay raise each year based on metrics he and the council will determine together.

"We've been through a lot in the last couple of years. A lot of crises," Williams said. "We've all learned a lot and I think we have an amazing opportunity right now both as a community and as an organization to get back up on our feet and really start running."

Walters called the hiring "a great beginning for West Linn."

Before the council hired Gabrielatos in 2020, it conducted an extensive nationwide recruitment for its next city manager. After that process, Gabrielatos and Williams emerged as the two finalists.

During the 2020 recruitment, community input favored Williams over Gabrielatos.

Councilors noted that residents' approval of Williams after the lengthy previous vetting process was one reason they were confident he was the right choice now.


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