Gold Hill seeks a new public works director

GOLD HILL — The city is looking for a new public works director to replace the man who was fired after he refused to resign.

City officials have confirmed that Royal Gasso, who worked 12 years for the city, declined to resign at the end of a 30-day unpaid leave. Gasso had been placed on leave after Oregon State Police arrested him on charges of possessing methadone and heroin and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Gasso was a controversial figure in Gold Hill for years. He was arrested in 2000 for violating conditions of his parole on an earlier drug conviction, and became the subject of a state ethics commission inquiry in 2007 over his use of a city-owned vehicle to commute from home to work.

Mayor Gus Wolf acknowledged Monday that Gasso had not accepted the council's offer to resign voluntarily rather than being terminated, but he declined additional comment.

Gasso said in June that he would enter a drug treatment center. He did not return calls placed by the Mail Tribune seeking comment.

The city has advertised Gold Hill's public works director job in local publications, including the Mail Tribune, and will accept applications through Aug. 14.

The position's salary range is $36,000 to $47,000, with benefits. The ad seeks candidates with plan review experience, public facility improvements and contract administration experience and grant and project management skills.

At the close of business Friday, Wolf said the city had received a number of inquiries regarding the position and "four or five" applications.

Council spokesman Mike Ely, who first reported the council's offer to allow Gasso to voluntarily resign also declined comment. So did Councilwoman Kathleen Price, a frequent Gasso critic.

Longtime public works employee Paul Tyreman is overseeing day-to-day operations of the city's public works department and water treatment plant.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at

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