City Council continues winnowing the applicantsCANNON BEACH - The search for the next city manager of Cannon Beach has drawn 87 applicants with a wide range of experience.

Monday marked the deadline for would-be semi-finalists to submit resumes and supplemental material for the position. Ultimately, the one selected will succeed City Manager Helen Westbrook, who plans to step down this spring after more than three years in that post.

Westbrook has said she wants to devote more time to her position as chairwoman of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners, for which she was elected last year and took office in January.

Fred Pabst, vice president for the Seattle- and Portland-based recruiting firm Waldron and Co., said a meeting is scheduled next week for city councilors to narrow the pool of candidates from an anticipated 15 to 20 semi-finalists.

"It's a strong pool," Pabst said. Although a national search was conducted, the majority of those interested live in Oregon and other states along the West Coast, he said.

"Cannon Beach is a very attractive location," Pabst said. He added that the fact it is managed by a city council form of government setting policy for the administrator, rather than the elected mayor serving as the administrator, also appeals to applicants.

Those who applied have "a wide variety of levels of experience," from people who have worked only in the private sector to those who have an assortment of work experience including public administration, he said.

Reporting to the five-member city council, the city manager of Cannon Beach oversees 31 employees (which increases to more than 50 in the summer) and an operating budget of $10.5 million. Key duties include the preparation of the annual budget,

supervision of staff and coordination of municipal services.

In advertisements for the position, the city called for a bachelor's degree in public administration, business administration or a related field, and at least five years of "progressively responsible experience in local government," or an equivalent of education and experience. Knowledge of Oregon land use practices and a strong background in municipal finance and procedures also were listed as desirable.

The salary offered was listed as $57,000 to $62,000 but is "currently under review," plus benefits.

Prior to her selection as city manager, Westbrook had served as the assistant city administrator. Her predecessor, John Williams, also was a long-time Cannon Beach resident who had previously served as a councilor.

But the decision of councilors last year to use a recruiting firm to make a broader search is increasingly common, Pabst said. Waldron and Co., which has been in business for 20 years, is retained when clients seek to cast an effective net for potential candidates using not only advertising but also direct mail and telephone contact with prospective candidates.

For its assistance in the search and recruitment process, the city is paying the company $14,500 plus expenses.

Interviews for finalists are scheduled in early April, Pabst said. The top choice likely will start working in May.


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