Clatsop County Manager Cameron Moore will retire in January.
Moore, an experienced administrator, was hired in 2016 to help bring stability to a county that had nine managers in 16 years. A performance review from the county Board of Commissioners last year — written by Scott Lee, the board’s chairman — was largely positive, but Moore has clashed with some commissioners.
“I thought Cam did a great job,” Lee said. “I’ve really enjoyed working with him, one of the best county managers I’ve been able to work with.”
Moore has been at odds with Commissioners Lianne Thompson and Kathleen Sullivan. While the two commissioners have asked for more open discussions about county decisions, Moore has accused them of improper interactions with county staff.
Moore offered to resign at one point last year but was asked by the majority of the five-member board to stay. The infighting peaked publicly in April, when Moore skipped a board meeting, writing in an email that the commissioners had made him their “verbal punching bag.” He later apologized for skipping the meeting.
“I thought he handled those rough spots with commissioners very well,” Lee said.
Thompson and Sullivan could not immediately be reached for comment.
Moore, the former chief executive officer for the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, replaced Scott Somers, who resigned in 2015 to take a job in Maryland.
After he was hired, Moore described the county manager post as his last and indicated he planned to retire in the county.
“This is the last stop in my career, or as I have said a few times, this is my last hurrah,” Moore said in 2016.
Moore’s last day is Jan. 4.
Peter Roscoe, a former Astoria city councilor and restaurateur, and Pamela Wev, a land use consultant, are vying for the county commission’s District 3 seat in November. The race could settle the idealogical dispute over county decision-making.
Roscoe has said the county charter gives the county manager clear authority over daily operations, while Wev has called for more board oversight.
Roscoe said the next county manager should be hired after the election, when former Warrenton Mayor Mark Kujala and either Roscoe or Wev will begin their terms. While admitting he has an outside view, Roscoe has noticed that recent county managers have had “rocky tenures,” and that they often find themselves in a “bear trap.”
“I don’t know why that happens on the county level,” Roscoe said. “Somebody that can work with the commissioners is what we need.”
Lee, who did not seek re-election this year, agreed that the hiring should take place after the new board is in place. Monica Steele, the assistant county manager and budget director, would be the logical choice as an interim county manager after Moore’s final day, he said.
“Obviously the new board is going to have the ultimate decision as to who the next county manager is going to be,” Lee said. “My hope is that we have a smooth transition.”