Rich Mays to retire July 8

<p>Rich Mays</p>

Cannon Beach City Manager Rich Mays will retire July 8, completing a tenure of eight years, eight months and eight days.

“It’s been a great ride,” said Mays, 63.

The City Council has known about Mays’ departure for a year: Mays made no secret of his intentions to retire, but, until last month he had not set a definite date.

“It’s something I’ve been planning for a while,” he said.

Meanwhile, his wife, Rose Mays, expects to sell her Cannon Beach business, Puppy Love By the Sea.

They have put their Cannon Beach house up for sale and plan to move to The Dalles, where Rose Mays’ daughter, her husband and the Mays’ two grandchildren live.

In the interim

Mayor Mike Morgan said the city will contract with a recruitment firm, possibly the League of Oregon Cities, to find Mays’ successor, who will supervise 33 FTE (full-time equivalent) employees.

Morgan doesn’t know how long it will take to hire a new city manager, but he expects resumes will be due to the city by the end of June. A city search committee will conduct interviews in July, and the City Council may hire a new city manager in September.

“That may be too ambitious; I don’t know,” Morgan said.

At its next work session May 13, the City Council will discuss a resolution, to be passed in June, that lays out the standards and timeline for recruiting a replacement. The public is invited to comment on the qualities they would like to see in a new city manager, City Attorney Tammy Herdener said.

The council may appoint an interim city manager to fill the two- to -three-month vacancy. According to the city charter, the permanent city manager’s position must be filled within four months.

Mays, who was hired when Dave Rouse was mayor, has seen four mayors come and go since he took over the city manager position on Nov. 1, 2005: Rouse, John Williams (who died while in office), Jay Raskin (an interim mayor) and Morgan, who was elected in November 2008.

Mays was city manager during the construction of the city’s skate park and nature trail and the acquisition of the 1,000-acre Ecola Creek Forest Reserve and the 55-acre South Wind property.

He also helped to create the Tourism and Arts Commission, which allocates a portion of the city’s lodging taxes to nonprofit organizations sponsoring arts-based events that attract  long-distance visitors.

His last task will be to shepherd the city’s 2014-15 budget through to council approval.

“He’s been a steady hand on the tiller,” Morgan said. “I think he’s done a good job, and I wish him the best.”


Mays did not want to move to a small town per se; “I wanted to move to Cannon Beach.”

Before relocating to the North Coast, Mays worked as the city administrator for Jefferson City, Missouri — the state capital — for more than 10 years. He had also been the city manager in Collinsville and Sterling, Illinois.

In 1999, he and his wife traveled to Oregon for an International City Managers Association conference in Portland. They drove to Astoria and planned to head south along the Oregon Coast until the conference began.

But then they stopped in Cannon Beach and felt no reason to go any farther.

“We went to the conference, too, but we didn’t drive down the rest of the coast. We just stayed here. We just fell in love with it,” he said.

Then, in 2005, the city manager’s job opened, and Mays put his name in the hat.

“We were both at that stage in our lives where we thought, ‘Hey, let’s go for it,’” he said. “We both took pay cuts and made the move.”

Cannon Beach’s smaller size and its preoccupation with arts and the environment has made this stint as city manager “totally different” from Mays’ experience in the Midwest. There, economic development is a much bigger issue, he said.

Mays remembers the first time he saw Cannon Beach’s Little Pompey Wetland downtown.

“Knowing the acute parking problems that Cannon Beach had, the first thing that came to my mind is, ‘If that was back in Jefferson City, we would have built a parking lot over that thing,’” he said. “Of course, I learned very quickly that that would never happen here. And it shouldn’t.”

Mays hopes he will be remembered for encouraging “an atmosphere here with the staff of volunteers that enabled us to get a lot of things done,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the volunteers here. I’ve worked for volunteers everywhere, but Cannon Beach is really special when it comes to that.”


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