Tuesday, November 10, 2009

City Manager Candidates and Hiring Process

Newly obtained information added on Hulse and Johnson on 11/11/09.

While the search for a new City Manager has been going on for a few months, the citizens of Baker City have been pretty much in the dark about the people being considered. The Baker City Herald has been attempting to provide information, bless their hearts, but until their Friday article (http://www.bakercityherald.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79915&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=31 ), we have known little.

The Herald gave their opinion in an editorial over three weeks ago on October 14, 2009--"City should name manager finalists" (http://www.bakercityherald.com/Editorials/City-should-name-manager-finalists ).

Their opinion was "Yet although the Council, as it should, solicits the public’s opinions about all sorts of topics before councilors vote, ranging from water and sewer rates to a monthly fee to pay for new sidewalks, residents are in effect excluded from the similarly vital choice of selecting a city manager. . . . . The bottom line here is that if the choice [about whether to inform Baker City Citizens about the Candidates and finalists] comes down to either sparing a candidate a possible hassle with his or her current boss, or ensuring that Baker City residents have a chance to participate, in a limited way, in the hiring of the person who runs their city and spends their property tax dollars, we side with the residents."

Bravo! The Herald sides with an informed citizenry and a more participatory democracy!

Apparently some cities, like Menominee, Michigan, where candidate Strahl served, hold their interviews in public meetings, so it is not that there is unanimous agreement for the practice of holding them in secret, or for protecting candidates to the detriment of citizens. Further, the city of Menominee has open interviews, where the citizens are given a chance to offer questions that are moderated by the city attorney.

But until this last Friday's Herald article briefly identifying the finalists, we have heard essentially nothing.
"City Council to interview four city manager finalists next week" (http://www.bakercityherald.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79915&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=31 )

That’s too bad, given the glowing reports about the former city manager at the time of his hiring. We now have a short period to consider their choices, even if they are already close to making up their minds. If we remember, former city manager Brocato was hired without a lot of serious research being done. In part, much of the information seems to have been either ignored or not looked for, and in part, it is because Mr. Brocato didn’t have the kind of public record that is available for some of the current candidates.

Unfortunately, in an apparently rushed decision having only some Council input, Mayor Dorrah and City Manager Collins decided on Friday to have the “meet and greet” events described in Monday’s Herald (See “City manager applicants plan visits around Baker” at http://www.bakercityherald.com/Local-News/City-manager-applicants-plan-visits-around-Baker ).

The headline is a little misleading, as it wasn’t the candidates that did the planning. If you read the article, you will also notice that, even though the Herald printed the article on Monday, the “meet and greet” events started on Sunday. There was no schedule of events released on the city website, and the “schedule of events” was apparently “released” to only a few people. My feeling is that all interested citizens should have been invited from the get-go, and I don’t have much interest in going because such events are not likely to reveal much relevant information. Publicly announced public forums open to all citizens are a better way to get to know candidates, if people have some information about the candidates prior to the forums being held.

I am told by a person who should know that Councilor Andrew Bryan released the names to the Herald without conferring with the whole council, but if you read the article, you might see some of the names who belong to a group that Milo Pope once referred to as “the people that matter” in Baker City. Despite whatever differences I may have with Councilor Bryan, I commend him for making the information available. One wonders whether the list of invitees would have come to light if he had not informed the Herald.

I was told by one Councilor that the reason for the “meet & greet” was to have people tell the candidates why they came and how they got to Baker City, and etc. My understanding is that Dorrah communicated with Collins to get invitations out to people. (last sentence changed -clarification 11/11/09) Another Councilor this late afternoon/early evening, just prior to the Sunridge “Meet & Greet,” told me that anyone, including myself, could attend and ask them questions. The problem to me is that most people were not informed at all, or were not informed in a timely fashion, including some Councilors. (last sentence changed -clarification 11/11/09) The invitations were extended to a select few. Reasons offered were that the candidates couldn’t all be here on a single day and that it was sort of rushed and spontaneous. None-the-less, the list appears to be a bit selective, and the venues where the events are being held would normally exclude lower income people who don’t often frequent the places chosen because of financial and other issues. (Oh, that’s right, they don’t matter anyway!) The one exception is the Tuesday event at Inland Café, but the time for that one is not listed. (Why not use the public facilities available like Council Chamber, the High School, extension offices, the Armory, or the library?????) In addition to the statement in the article concerning arrangements for city staff to meet with the candidates on Monday, I am told that they were all issued invites to the Monday evening get-together at the Sunridge.

You may be well acquainted with the folks on the list (I confess, I’ve only been her a little over five years), but here is a brief run down on their positions in the community.

Guests officially invited, according to the Herald article:
City Staff: “Teresa can arrange transportation and/or facilitate meetings.”
Kathleen Chaves: Crossroads Art Center Advisory Committee, co-owner of Chaves Consulting, Inc.; ’08 Chamber of Commerce “Woman of the Year.”
Amy Dunkak: Supported recall, director of communications at St. Elizabeth’s, moved up from Chamber of Commerce (AKA Church of Commerce, or COC)
Ginger Savage: Chair of BAKER SCHOOL DISTRICT 5J; Crossroads; Chamber of Commerce supporter; Formerly of US Bank.
Mary Jo Carpenter: Heads up what may be the most valuable Baker City enterprise--Community Connection
Karen Yeakley: County resident, former mayor of Baker City
Karen Woolard: 1992 Chamber of Commerce “Woman of the Year’ award, Former city employee and city manager
Sheryl Blankenship: Former Oregon “Optometrist of the Year,” Former Baker County “Woman of the Year,” and former board member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Larry Pearson: Former Mayor of Baker City
Joe and Sharon Rudi: Broker/Realtors/Developers, Baker City Planning Commission; Son Mike: Chairmanships--Baker City Planning Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Transient Lodging Tax Committee
Fred Warner: County Commissioner, and more.
Jerry Peacock: Baker High School Principal
Peggi Timm: Committee to Defeat the Inappropriate Recalls, former Councilor; Led effort to create OTEC; former member DNC.
Troy Woydziak: Owner of Baker Aircraft. Flight instructor; Manager, Baker City Municipal Airport; has been on Airport Commission.
Brian Olson: HBC Business of the Year, 2009, CLARK & COMPANY HOME
Matthew Clark: HBC Business of the Year, 2009, CLARK & COMPANY HOME
Ann Mehaffy: Program Director, Historic Baker City (HBC); Currently on Board of Directors, Crossroads Art Center; Class of ’64, Verde Valley High School in Sedona, AZ.
Brian Olson: Again
Debi Bainter: Executive Director, Baker County Chamber of Commerce
Mayor Dennis Dorrah (and of course other Councilors)
Dr. Charles Hofmann: former Mayor
Peggi Timm: Again
Fred Warner: Again
Francis Langrell: Daughter of Rich Langrell. He is the former Councilor who is on the Board of the Baker County Chamber of Commerce.
Mike Nelson: Owner/broker of Nelson Real Estate, Commissioner, Oregon Transportation Commission and a Democratic Party political operator.
Troy Woydziak: Again
Brian Olson: Again!!!!
Matthew Clark: Again
spouses, partners and guests of invited guests

If one take’s a look at the list, and assumes that many of the people that Mr. Pope refers to as “the people that matter” are there, then one begins to understand what Bill Moyers was getting at on his TV show “Bill Moyers Journal” a year or so back, when he said: “We appear to have a government run by remote control from the . . . Chamber of Commerce . . . . To hell with everyone else.”

For the record and your review:

Elitism is defined by the Free Online Dictionary as:
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
a. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
b. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.

Oligarchy is defined by the Free Online Dictionary as:
a. Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families.
b. Those making up such a government.
2. A state governed by a few persons.

Plutocracy is defined by the Free Online Dictionary as:
1. Government by the wealthy.
2. A wealthy class that controls a government.
3. A government or state in which the wealthy rule.

Democracy is defined by the same source as:
1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

Information About the City Manager Candidates:

So, with limited information available from the Council, the Baker County Blog, with a little help from contributors, has compiled web links and other information, in what is admittedly an incomplete and insufficient record, to help provide Baker City residents with at least some information about the four finalists. Because of the lack of information--the incomplete names, little history on the former positions held by some of the finalists--it has not been easy to gather information on all of them. Unfortunately, in a way, those candidates with more experience as a city manager have more information publicly available on Google. Additionally, because City Managers are usually in a tenuous and insecure position, subject to changing political winds, and because they are easily used as fall guys for poor Council decisions, they tend to get terminated a lot-- every two to five years. One article I read put it this way: “There’re two types — those who have been fired or those who will be fired. That’s the nature of this
Game.” (See Sharon PA Herald: http://www.sharon-herald.com/local/local_story_299220343.html )

On the other hand, those who serve in less political positions, may not suffer from the same inherent professional malady, so their record may look better, independent of how well they do. Also, unless you can afford to purchase LexisNexis, or other sources of information, it is more difficult to find information over about 8-9 years old.

It is apparent then, at least to me, that some are at a disadvantage, because more potentially damaging or negative information is likely to turn up on Mr. Patrick and Mr. Strahl, because both served previously as city managers. Mr. Patrick appears to suffer the disadvantage to the greater degree. Those who have not actually served as city managers, i.e., Hulse and Johnson, will likely not have the search exposure of those that do, so one is still left to wonder who they are, given the lack of transparency of the current process. If anything, it gives one a healthy respect for the difficulty of knowing everything one might want to reasonably know about a candidate.

This is what we have found out in an admittedly brief period. More will likely become available if the council decides to release adequate information, which they might do tonight (11/10/09) at the Council meeting. Of course, I would not advise anyone to make decisions solely on the information provided below, and I’m sure you wouldn’t, but I hope that if the Council does not already have it, that they will consider the information in making their decision. It is provided primarily to inform residents of information that has been, thus far, hard for them to come by. You can find more information by using Google or other search engines, and by searching the newspapers whose links have been provided.

Jim Patrick

Jim Patrick was the city manager of Kalispell, Montana, population estimated to be over 17,000. As I mentioned earlier, one of the hurdles Mr. Patrick has, that most of the others do not, is that there is a lot of information available. For example, “Jim Patrick City Manager Kalispell” returns perhaps fewer, but much more specific hits to investigate, than Tim Johnson, Portland or San Diego, where he was reported to have worked for some time as an assistant to the city manager. Patrick has also been applying for a lot of city manager jobs so there are numerous newspaper articles to be found.

Patrick Resumes

Storm Lake City Manager Finalists: Meet the Candidates. Mon., Nov. 9, 2009

* Jim Patrick has served as the City Manager for Kalispell, MT; Vermillion, SD; Plum, PA, Lebanon, OH and New London, WI. Patrick graduated from Wheaten College in Illinois with a degree in Biology. He entered the army after college and retired after 20 years as a Lieutenant Colonel, towards the end of the military career he worked with base operations and base management. After retiring he said it was a natural fit to get into city management.

During his tenure he says the town grew at about six percent a year. The biggest challenge for the City of Kalispel (Sic) was keeping up with the growth and helping the infrastructure grow. The town is a tourist town and sees about 1.8 million tourists a year, he says. The City kept busy trying to keep up with the tourists and accomodating (sic) their needs. "A lot of retail came to the area," he says.

Patrick says he has a very open personality and works well with community and staff and likes to partner with neighbors and the community to get the job done. He says he sees a lot of similarities between the City of Kalispell and CIty of Storm Lake. "The community (of SL) seems to want to grow. Storm Lake is doing a lot of really neat things and is really progressive, it'd be nice to be part of that," he says. Patrick says he really likes the quality of life and the values of the midwest states.
He and his wife Anita have five children.

You can find an earlier resume for Mr. Patrick (photo included), when he had just started working for the city of Kalispell in the following article:
Jim Patrick — Kalispell’s New City Manager (Jan. '05)

While the earlier resume states above that “Patrick says he has a very open personality and works well with community and staff", the next article explains how his stint as Kalispell City Manager ended, and raises some possible red flags.

"Since Patrick took the helm in Kalispell, the city has experienced "phenomenal growth," both in terms of population and business, Kalispell Chamber of Commerce President Joe Unterreiner said.
"Probably the last five-year period has been the highest-growth period perhaps in the entire history of the city," Unterreiner said. "That brings with it both benefits and challenges

Also, déjà vu?:

"Patrick has been present at closed meetings on transportation impact fees - meetings that, because they are of public significance, should have been open to the public, Flowers said.
"It's very important that the city have a city manager who works well with the public," she said. "We look forward to an open-door, friendly policy with a new city manager.

See Kalispell council, mayor fire city manager:

Another local paper, The Flathead Beacon, has run several articles about Kalispell's problems and Patrick's removal. In an October 17, 2008 article, they had this to say about the termination:

"While Patrick has presided over enormous economic growth and development in his four years as city manager, over the last year and a half he has also had to deal with a number of tough issues, including: moving the city government into a new facility after a renovation project that ran significantly over budget; bitter aggravation in the city fire department between the firefighters' union and former chief Randy Brodehl prior to Brodehl's eventual departure; a city budget shortfall for the current fiscal year that resulted in the elimination of several city positions; acrimonious negotiations with the city employees union over an employment contract that led to picketing outside city hall last year by union members; and difficulty implementing transportation impact fees amid the strenuous objections of Kalispell's business community."
See Breaking News: Kalispell City Manager Fired:

One Kalispell respondent to my inquiries, who has been an observer to Kalispell government processes during Mr. Patrick's tenure, said that some of the problems were:

"it appears his problems here stemmed from poor communication between him and the city council / city staff, and a sense that he had the right to make decisions to spend city money without consulting the council,

- Overruns in the fire department budget came on his watch. Apparently firefighters who were unhappy with their pay started taking advantage of a provision that allowed them to put in overtime at will, and it basically bankrupted that budget.

- He also made agreements with local artists and a bronze-casting studio for four wildlife statues at Kalispell's primary intersection (U.S. 2 and U.S. 93). One was completed and still is stored in an unused hangar at the city airport. I'm pretty sure that artist has been fully paid. No others have been finished, but I don't know if they received any advance money. None of the statues has been erected at the intersection.

- The city went through a building boom during 2005, '06, '07 and ended up with a pretty healthy budget. But a $1.5 million cash reserve in the FY2007 general fund in 2007 evaporated to what initially was projected to be $130,000. That happened under Mr. Patrick's watch. It now stands to end 2009-10 at $309,000 because the interim city manager and council put in a hiring freeze and drastically cut department budgets.

A "non-partisan" business oriented organization also raised questions regarding the handling of the remodeling of the building the city had purchased for a new city hall. Due to significant cost overruns for the remodel amounting, according to press reports, to between $400,000 and $500,000 dollars, the city ended up having to arrange a lease/purchase agreement with an out of state financial firm. The agreement turned over actual control of city hall to the out of state firm, but sources indicate that the city will once-again own the building in 20 years if the contract is fulfilled according to plan. Similar criticisms were levied against the former Mayor in the recent Mayoral election campaign that was won by a lawyer and representative of many business interests.

Regarding the city hall remodel, an article in the Flathead Beacon from March of 2008, not to long before he was terminated, stated: “The project’s current price tag, roughly $1.7 million, is $500,000 more than Oswood’s original contract and double the original estimate, which Oswood called “overly optimistic.

See: Construction ‘Crisis’ Inflates Price Tags

Someone close to and well acquainted with the process in Kalispell told me that they “Probably wouldn’t hire him again because he laid back too much” when certain things needed to be taken care of more quickly. One example given was that the Fire Chief didn’t get along well with some local people as well as some around the state, and that the Council had to ask Patrick to fire the Chief because Patrick laid back and wouldn’t do it on his own. It was also noted that the newly elected Mayor blew some of the issues facing the city out of proportion during her campaign and that nothing “underhanded” was done by Mr. Patrick. An important issue seemed to be that Mr. Patrick “didn’t keep the Council in the loop,” but not intentionally. It was apparently his style that got him into trouble.

As for the depletion of the budget during Patrick’s tenure, the source said that part of the problem was that the economy turned bad in the last part of his relationship with the city. He was said to be “honest” but “got caught up in things that were beyond his control.”

One example given was that the lead architect died in the middle of the remodel for city hall, so change orders were implemented by the new project leader that would not have been implemented if the original architect had not passed away.

Patrick’s final salary was $93,000 plus $400/mo vehicle allowance. His severance package amounted to about $75,000. (http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/kalispells_severance_strains/7224/)

Eric Strahl

Strahl, like many city managers, including Patrick, had been asked to leave his position in Menominee, Michigan, a town of about 9,000 people. For story and photo, see: Strahl out as city manager, 4/17/09, http://ehextra.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=4594&SectionID=12&SubSectionID=35&S=1


In the article about his termination, no substantive reasons were given for his termination. A person I spoke with in Menominee, who follows city politics fairly closely, stated that they never had heard or experienced anything with or about Eric that would have raised a red flag, but that due to closed sessions the council held regarding the termination, the specific reasons for it remain secret. In contrast to charges made about our former city manager, the source indicated that it wasn't because he had difficulties in his relationships with citizens or had any openness issues. He was described as open, accessible, polite, professional, and as a person who doesn't dodge questions--whether from the Council or the public. According to the article:

"[Mayor] Krah said he has worked closely with Strahl since he was hired in June of 2006. 'I think we had a good relationship,' he said. 'There were things that it just didn't seem we could get on the same page as a council and as a manager. Those things were discussed in his reviews. I think it's just as well those things stay there. Overall it was just time for a change.'"

Not everyone was in agreement. Council members Don Hudon, Don Mick, Ernie Pintarelli and Arnie Organ were opposed to letting Strahl go.

"We have no cause to get rid of him," said Organ. "He's done the job, he's balanced the budget every year. The one major thing he's done is he's cut our medical costs way down. And he's eliminated personnel and still runs the city." The decision required just a majority vote.

In a prepared written statement Strahl said, 'Throughout these discussions the employment relationship has remained cordial and professional and will continue to remain so...

Mr. Strahl did not sue the city. He made $74,970 a year and was given six months salary and benefits after termination. My view, from the information gathered, is that Mr. Strahl is the antithesis of Baker City’s former city manager because he let the Council lead and he just implemented their policy (source: “he followed Council’s decisions” and he was accessible and polite to all—both business interests and common citizens.

My assessment: Not flashy, no "Rock Star," not an “economic developer," not an overly assertive personality, just a professional public servant who knows his job , balances budgets, and does what the Council wants him to do, despite what he might think personally.

Clarence Hulse

I was unable during the last few days to accumulate much information about Mr. Hulse. The following article provides some information from May, 2001, with a photograph.

As the article states, he was then the new Assistant City Manager of Cocoa, Florida. He, like two other candidates, has an economic development background, and in 1988, he moved from Belize, South America, to the U.S. For a resume at that time, see: A Warm Welcome to Cocoa’s New Assistant City Manager, p. 2 at http://fl-cocoa2.civicplus.com/DocumentView.aspx?DID=107.

He graduated Magna Cum Laude (“with great honor”) with a B.A. in Public Administration from Harding University. He has a masters in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi as well. He was the national 1999 recipient of the prestigious “Outstanding New Developer of the Year” Award presented by the American Economic Development Council.”

New information received after the original article was posted states that Mr. Hulse was business development manager for Pinellas County, FL from 1994 to 2000 and was deputy city manager of Cocoa, FL, where he managed more than 400 employees, from 2000 to 2004. (Added 11/11/09)

His business contact page is here: http://resources.imreintel.com/emails/fiberon/2008_show_list.xls

It is pretty extensive and shows that his interest is definitely in the business world.

A search on Belize Real Estate Development Group, LLC, with which he is said to be associated, turns up:
"Incorporated by Clarence L Hulse, Belize Real Estate Development Group, LLC is located at 11558 Thurston Way Orlando, FL 32837. Belize Real Estate Development Group, LLC was incorporated on Friday, June 08, 2007 in the State of FL and is currently active. Dwight Hulse represents Belize Real Estate Development Group, LLC as their registered agent." See: http://www.corporationwiki.com/Florida/Orlando/belize-real-estate-development-group-llc-5173855.aspx

It also turns up the pages of Hulse Apartments, in Belize, (http://hulseapartments.yolasite.com/ ) and many pages concerning real estate and resort investors.

He is also associated with Belize Real Estate Development Group, LLC:
"Incorporated by Clarence L Hulse, Belize Real Estate Development Group, LLC is located at 11558 Thurston Way Orlando, FL 32837. Belize Real Estate Development Group, LLC was incorporated on Friday, June 08, 2007 in the State of FL and is currently active. Dwight Hulse represents Belize Real Estate Development Group, LLC as their registered agent." See: http://www.corporationwiki.com/Florida/Orlando/belize-real-estate-development-group-llc-5173855.aspx

It appears that Mr. Hulse, like candidates Johnson and Patrick, would fit right in with the Chamber of Commerce and development interests. (Changed--new info 11/11/09)

Timothy Johnson

Initially, it was difficult to get any information about Tim Johnson, because the information released by the Herald simply said, “Timothy Johnson of Portland,” and “Johnson is a consultant and assistant to the city manager of San Diego.” San Diego is estimated to have a population of around 1.3 million people.

Well, the job in San Diego was prior to sometime in 1999, when he went to work for the Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corporation (YSEDC) in Yuba City, California, several miles north of Sacramento. Yuba City is estimated to have a population of around 43,000. Johnson was in the Yuba City area during a period of increasing population growth and median income, but, there are many factors involved in that growth, as it occurred during the economic/housing bubble.

Information on his tenure in San Diego prior to mid 1999 is difficult to find although it may yet turn up. From 1999 to December 29, 2006, he worked as Executive Director of the development corporation. According to what information I have been able to turn up, he decided for his own reasons to leave that position.

See: Johnson to find own replacement, http://www.appeal-democrat.com/common/printer/view.php?db=marysville&id=7350

New information I just received fills in some of the blanks prior to 1999. Mr. Johnson received a BA in economics and business at the University of Oregon and Portland State University and did post-graduate work in economics and international affairs at Stanford University.

I was told that from 1983 to 1986 he also served as Executive Director of Bend Incorporated, "the original program to redevelop Bend when it was on it's knees with 23% unemployment,[but] he is the first to say that they 'lost the vision', lost their authenticity and sold their soul to big box development."

Additionally, from 1998 to 1994, he was the Director of Economic Development for the city of Sacramento, California, where he "establish a sustainable economies agenda, and used 'smart growth' polices to preserve and enhance the neighborhoods / commercial districts." (Last three paragraphs added 11/11/09--New info)

Thus far, all indications are that he is a bright and competent economic development specialist, so he will join a growing crowd of this sort, perhaps the most experienced in Baker County, if he is hired. (I wonder if he would have applied for Andrew Bryan’s job, if it had actually been put out to bid.)

A person who had a working relationship with Mr. Johnson during the time he was there, confirmed to me today that Johnson, with others, helped attract the Global Hawk project, an emerging manufacturing autonomous remotely controlled technology to the Yuba-Sutter area in the mid 1990’s.

See: Building on Beale victory, http://www.bakercityherald.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79915&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=31

My source also said that the Mr. Johnson helped with the attempt to develop the California Innovation Center Initiative of Beale Air Force Base, which is still partnering with Yuba County to bring the initiative to fruition. The source indicated that Mr. Johnson has a house in Elk Grove, California, and has been a consultant in the area after he left YSEDC. The 35 member multi-jurisdictional board of YSEDC was said to appreciate his leadership. In common with our former city manager, the commenter said that “He has a very strong personality, and if you can live with a very strong personality, he’s your guy.”

(Clarification & Editorial Comment --no shortage of the latter here, 11-11-09) Living with a strong personality can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon what you would like to accomplish. If, for example, your goal is to tame a strong-willed city administrative staff and employee unions, an equally strong, intellectually talented personality in the city manager, might be just what the doctor ordered, to the extent that the city manager kept those attributes in line with the wishes of the Council, which hopefully is doing things in the best interests of, and in accord with the desires of, the citizens. On the other hand, a more accommodating personality might be run over by the will of city staff. One of the problems we face in our city administration is that "term limits" for Council members often gives the advantage in administrative experience to city administrators, because the elected representatives are changing so often, with steep learning curves for the uninitiated. Staff can then use their experience, even if unintended, to control the agenda, out-maneuver, or in some cases, "hoodwink" the Council, as I personally think has been done far to often here in Baker City.


City Council will chose someone that they think will fulfill their agenda, which for the most part, is an economic development agenda. There are many in Baker City, not particularly well represented, who, although they would like to see some limited growth, think that economic development promoters are but another name for snake oil salesmen. For me, my fear is that they will be too successful, and all of the benefits we now enjoy with our quality of life here in Baker City will be destroyed. If I was a little more disappointed and vindictive, I might tell the growth folks “May you find what you are looking for.”


Angela Flood said...

Just as an FYI - we too have had our fill with the strong personality in Lafayette, Oregon. It has taken quite of a bit of time, and several investigations, but she is on her way 12/18/2009. Hopefully, she will stay retired as promised instead of regurgitating her 'services' into the OCCMA cesspool that we all have to dig from.
We too, have been mainly excluded from the process of finding someone who will be responsible for continuing to bilk the citizens here to spend as they wish.
We too have interviewed Tim Johnson for the position.
We too, do not know who they are in negotiations with.
Our choices - this Tim Johnson of which people speak and Justin Boone, formerly of Burns, Oregon city manager, and currently of a Burns City Councilor employ.
Let us know how it works out for you.
Angela Flood

Christopher Christie said...

Thanks for your comments Angela. I missed it so just now getting back to you. I appreciate your letting us know that, unfortunately, you folks have had similar problems with city managers and the hiring process.