Phoenix will stick with interim manager

PHOENIX — After interviewing half a dozen candidates by phone and half as many in person last week, council members have asked interim City Manager Jane Turner to stay on with the city.

"We've asked her to stay on for a year," Mayor Carlos DeBritto said Thursday.

"We were happy with the work she was doing from the beginning, but she wasn't sure whether she wanted to stay on or not — that's why we went out and searched for candidates. We had some pretty good candidates but we felt she'd really be a good fit if she was willing to stay."

City officials, with help from the League or Oregon Cities, advertised the job earlier this year after terminating a contract with then-interim City Manager Joe Wrabek

Though slated to stay on through September, DeBritto said, Turner had been asked to extend her contract for a year to bring continuity to a city recovering from various issues in recent years.

DeBritto said the city would be "just as happy" for Turner to stay on long-term.

While she had considered staying on the job before the city began interviewing possible replacements, Turner said she "wanted the city to go through the process and review other candidates."

Turner, who worked for more than a dozen years as city manager for King City, Calif. before leaving due to illness, said she looks forward to staying on at City Hall.

"It's really a wonderful community and I see good things coming for it," she said.

"People are working hard. I see big changes in the council already, and it's just a wonderful community with a lot of really good ideas for moving forward. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Turner's appointment in March came on the heels of the council's decision to fire Wrabek, who replaced interim City Manager Dale Shaddox last year.

Personnel issues cropped up in Wrabek's final months as manager, culminating in a personnel investigation involving City Recorder Betty Smith and police chief Kurt Barthel, who later resigned.

While Wrabek initially announced he'd like to move to planning, council members opted to terminate his contract with the city.

In the meantime, several planning department positions and the city recorder's post have been cut from the city's budget, DeBritto said, to get the city on "solid ground."

DeBritto said Turner's short tenure, thus far, had done much good for a city that has faced "more than its share of turmoil" in the past few years.

"She's really stabilized things for the city. She's good with the staff, very community oriented, works very well with the council "¦ we feel like there are some really big pluses," said the mayor.

"We've got a lot of things going on and that's probably part of the reason we've had some turmoil and so much to deal with. Now we're just trying to do the best we can and come up with solutions that work best for the city."

DeBritto said Turner's annual salary would fall between $80,000 and $90,000.

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

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