Talent council appoints interim city manager

TALENT — Veteran administrator Dale Shaddox will be offered the interim city manger position after Mayor Bill Cecil cast the deciding vote during a Friday meeting of City Council.

Shaddox has served as an interim manager in Brookings, Newport, Shady Cove and Phoenix and was a city manger in Yreka, Cotati and Hollister, Calif.

City Council on June 1 voted to not renew the contract of former City Manager Jay Henry, due to expire on July 1, and put him on paid leave.

"I think at this point we need an objective outsider," said Councilman Dan Goyette, who made the motion to appoint Shaddox. "I just feel he's got the experience to hit the ground running."

Garold Gillham of Prineville and current Assistant City Recorder Suzanne Heinrich also emerged as favored candidates when Cecil asked council members to name their top two choices.

Council members Diane Glendenning and Chris Auer voted with Goyette for the appointment of Shaddox. Council members Sherman Lamb, E.J. McManus and Teresa Cooke voted against the motion, leaving it up to Cecil to cast the tie-breaking vote.

The interim appointment is expected to last four to six months while the city searches for a permanent manager. Cecil said he told all candidates they could apply for the permanent position.

Heinrich, interviewed during the meeting, said she's not interested in the permanent post.

"My sense is that we should separate the interim from the permanent," said Heinrich. "If we have an interim who is applying for the position ... that person is not able to help at all in the recruitment."

Shaddox, who was a finalist for the position when Henry was hired in 2008, said he'd have to discuss applying for the permanent post with the council.

"It's an attractive idea," Shaddox said of being permanent manager. "Talent has some interesting projects; the downtown project and the Highway 99 corridor and Regional Problem Solving. All are projects I'm familiar with, and I think I have a lot to contribute."

Shaddox and Finance Director Denise Woodman were interviewed by City Council on June 9. At that time, Shaddox told the group he was interested in serving only if he had unanimous support. The group split in an informal poll, with some members calling for a look at other candidates.

Subsequently Shaddox told Police Chief Mike Moran, who is acting city manager, that he no longer required unanimous consent to serve and that he had declined a potential position on the Oregon Coast.

Other candidates included Mike Patterson of Redmond and William Lee of Myrtle Creek.

"We are split right down the middle," Auer stated just before the meeting adjourned. "We should prioritize at the next council meeting how to come together as a team."

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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