City Will Wait to Hire Permanent City Administrator

The Vernonia City Council is waiting until they go through the 2014-15 budget process before making any decisions about hiring a permanent City Administrator.

Mayor Josette Mitchell says that the City has exhausted all the funds allocated for the City Administrator position for this fiscal year, due to all the expenses and costs the City incurred to finalize the dismissal of previous City Administrator Bill Haack.

“We realized there wasn’t money in that line item to hire someone for the rest of the fiscal year without making extreme changes, like letting someone else go or cutting something else way back to where the services provided would not be what the citizens were expecting,” said Mitchell during a recent interview.

Instead, on December 12, 2013, the Council chose to appoint Mitchell and City Council President Randy Parrow each as City Administrator Pro Tem and share the duties of the City Administrator.   According to the Agreement between Mitchell, Parrow and the City of Vernonia, Mitchell is handling the day to day operations at City Hall, managing ongoing projects, and supervising all employees.  Parrow is responsible for any employee disciplinary action.

The Agreement also preserves Mitchell and Parrow’s right as Mayor and Councilors to preside over, participate in, and vote in all City Council and City Committee meetings.

The Agreement is effective until the City hires a City Administrator or Interim City Administrator.

The City of Vernonia is required by Ordinance to have a City Administrator. The City Charter allows an elected officer to be employed in a City position that is substantially volunteer in nature.  Neither Mitchell nor Parrow are being paid in their role as City Administrator Pro Tem.  Mitchell is receiving a stipend of $3.91/hour to cover day care costs she incurs while working at City Hall.

Mitchell said that, once the City Council has adopted a budget for the next fiscal year, they will begin a formal search for a new City Administrator, which will include advertising the position, a review of the potential candidates, an interview process and the eventual hiring.