Tag Archives: Josette Mitchell

Council Hires Mitchell for City Administrator

The City of Vernonia has hired Josette Mitchell to be the new City Administrator.

Mitchell was offered the City Administrators position following the September 8, 2015 City Council meeting.

“We’re pleased to have Josette Mitchell as our new City Administrator,” said Mayor Randy Parrow. “We look forward to having someone in this position who is familiar with our community and has a solid working knowledge of the City’s current goals and projects.”

Mitchell was elected as Mayor three times in 2010, 2012, and 2014 before stepping down to take the position of City Recorder/Assistant to the City Administrator this past March.  Mitchell has previously served as Interim City Administrator on two separate occasions.  She replaces former City Administrator Gian Paolo Mammone who was relieved of his duties on August 12.

There had been some speculation that Mitchell would again be named Interim City Administrator  following Mammone’s dismissal.  But instead the City Council chose to offer her the full position and forego any further search or interview any additional candidates.

“Josette has shown her commitment to the City of Vernonia over the last several years,” said Mayor Parrow.  “She has earned this opportunity and we look forward to working with her and helping her succeed in moving the City forward.”

Terms of Mitchell’s contract were not made public.

Unofficial Local Election Results: Mitchell Wins Vernonia Mayor Race

Vernonia Mayor Josette Mitchell was re-elected for a third two-year term in the November 4, 2014 elections, according to unofficial results released by the Columbia County elections office on Wednesday, November 5th at 5:30 AM.

Mitchell received 406 votes, or 57%, to defeat challenger Sally Harrison who received 260 votes, or 37% of the vote.   There were 42 write-in votes.

Jill Hult and Mike Seager were elected to the Vernonia City Council and were the only two candidates on the ballot.  Hult received 406 votes, or  45%, Seager received 309 votes, or 35%, and there were 180 write-in votes, or 20%.  The top two candidates are elected.

In County election races, incumbent Henry Heimuller retained his seat as County Commissioner, defeating Wayne Mayo for Position 2.  Heimuller received 9,941 votes, or 54%; Mayo received 8,172 votes or 45% of the vote. Read More

Vernonia’s Voice Endorses Mitchell, Hult and Heimuller

On Thursday, October16 Vernonia’s Voice hosted a political forum called “Meet the Candidates.”  We invited candidates for Vernonia Mayor, Vernonia City Council, Columbia County Commissioner, and Circuit Court Judge.  The candidates answered a series of questions allowing audience members a chance to see some of the differences between them.

In the past, Vernonia’s Voice has not made endorsements of political candidates.  But there are several races on the ballot this year that are just too important.

Vernonia’s Voice is pleased to announce our endorsement of Josette Mitchell for Vernonia Mayor, Jill Hult for Vernonia City Council and Henry Heimuller for Columbia County Commissioner.

The following is recap of the “Meet the Candidates” event and our reasons for endorsing these candidates.


Vernonia Mayor

Candidates:  Josette Mitchell, Sally Harrison

Josette Mitchell has served as Vernonia Mayor for the last four years.  Her opponent, Sally Harrison was the previous Mayor; Mitchell defeated Harrison in the 2010 election and than ran unopposed in 2012.

In the time Mitchell has been Mayor she has been extremely active and involved in the day-to-day operations at City Hall.  She has been extremely busy, acting as the interim City Administrator for nine months as well as Mayor this past year.  She has shown the ability to dig in and learn about and deal with the issues facing the City.  As she stated during the forum, she has been involved in moving numerous projects forward and wants the opportunity to complete the work she started as mayor.  She deserves her chance.

Mitchell is a doer.  She has diligently tackled several complicated issues head-on and worked to find solutions.  I believe she has learned that government work can be painstakingly slow, but she has shown  she has the determination and grit and to stick with it and deal with the issues.   Whether or not you’ve agreed with her decisions or methods,  you certainly can’t accuse her of standing pat, giving up,  or letting things slide.  Whether it’s been helping a citizen deal with a drainage issue, or dealing with the conflict between the Ridge Riders and the City, or complaints about maintenance at the cemetery, or making sure the Spencer Park fields were built correctly, Mitchell has jumped in, looked for solutions and followed through.   Read More

An Opinion: Council Needs to Pull Together

Vernonia has hired a new City Administrator, which is good news. The bad news is they also have a problem on their hands. 

The City has been without a permanent City Administrator for over eight months, since the City Council voted to fire previous Administrator Bill Haack in December of 2013.

Council always has a tough decision when they choose a new City Administrator.  This time the choice was complicated by who was among the candidates.

The new hire, Gian Paolo “Paul” Mammone will arrive on September 1st with an impressive resume and list of credentials.  He is upbeat about his new position and seems in tune and suited to dealing with the needs of the community.  He does come with some baggage as he has held four positions in four communities during the last six years.  Vernonia also does not have a good track record in bringing in “outsiders” to be our City Administrator.  Without going through the long list of recent Administrators who have come and gone, let’s just say this scenario has had mostly mixed results.  So the choice of Mammone does raise some eyebrows and opens the door for some questions.

Since Haack was fired, Mayor Josette Mitchell has unselfishly stepped in to act as Interim City Administrator.  Mitchell also filled in as Interim City Administrator when Haack was previously fired and then brought back to the position in 2011.  During her time filling the dual roles of Mayor and unpaid City Administrator Mitchell has accomplished a lot.  She has organized City Hall and dealt with the day-to-day operations of City business in a way that has not happened in many, many years.  She has managed several difficult projects with success and worked on repairing relationships with several city partners. She has been responsive to public issues as well as to the needs of city staff and the many City Committees which advise the City Council on policy.  She has been a positive force for the City and has been willing to learn when she has not had the background or training to deal with the specifics the position calls for.  Mitchell stepped up and did an excellent job and deserves praise and thanks for  her effort on behalf of the citizens of Vernonia. Read More

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. Read More

Community… A Continued Series Celebrating the Circle of Life with Salmon Festival

Fall, where leaves are brilliant in color and rivers change to swift cold, people and animals begin to prepare for shelter from the impending winter’s cold. For Salmon this is a time to return home and begin the precious task of spawning. We are fortunate here to be able to see this miraculous journey up close and personal. And in the spirit of life’s cycle we choose appropriately to celebrate. It is all thanks to a small group of people that bring us together to do so. Salmon, pumpkins, scarecrows, food, art, and of course the fishing pond – what could be a better way to welcome fall? Okay, maybe a clear, crisp day instead of rain to celebrate the day, but whether the weather cooperates with our wishes or not, life carries on and we partake.

In this year long series of community events that focused on our community assets, volunteerism, and our ability to attract visitors, the Salmon Festival is my final focus. I would like to briefly recap that this series covered: The Vernonia Friendship Jamboree and Logging Show, The Spirit of Christmas & the Christmas Community Bazaar, The Fourth of July Great American Bash, Vernonia Community-Wide Sale, and St. Mary’s Quilt Fair. All of these events are organized by volunteers and have a lot to offer to us and our visitors. I encourage you to support them in whatever way you can from year to year. Community is the reason they exist.  Read More