WARRENTON - With City Manager Scott Derickson named as one of the two finalists for the job of Clatsop County administrator, the Warrenton Board of Commissioners discussed how they would handle Derickson's possible departure.
Faced with several large-scale civic projects such as building a new sewer treatment plant, Commissioner Gil Gramson said at the commission meeting Wednesday the city must give immediate priority to finding someone to replace Derickson if he were to leave.
"We have so much going on right now we can't delay," he said.
The county commissioners are expected to decide between Derickson and the other finalist, Jefferson County Administrator Mike Morgan, early next week.
Derickson did not want to discuss his departure as he was disinclined to "count my chickens before the eggs have hatched."
When pressed by the commission, however, he said his contract with the city of Warrenton stipulates a notice of three months.
"I would assume under circumstances that would be a negotiated arrangement," he said.
And Derickson added that he would continue to work closely with the city.
A main reason why he applied for the job was to advance himself professionally, Derickson said, noting he felt highly honored to have gotten so far with the county. But he also said that it is not as if he was wanted to leave Warrenton, saying he has no other applications out for other positions. He said the county job opened up when Jim Azumano retired and he felt he could advance his career while remaining part of the Warrenton community.
Commissioners seemed to be reassured, but said they should also be making inroads to have an interim manager ready and working with the League of Oregon Cities to begin the recruitment search if needed.
In other business, the Commission:
approved a resolution to join into a loan agreement with the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department for $506,000. The loan will be used by the city to pay for final design and engineering for the new sewage treatment plant.
approved entering into a professional services agreement with the HLB & Associates engineering firm based in Seaside. The agreement is for $436,400 to be paid from the loan from the economic development department. Derickson warned the commission that it appears other projects associated with the treatment plant may add costs that exceed the loan amount.
Engineer Jeff Harrington said he expects that while the design phase may be more expensive, the overall project should not exceed the total amount budgeted.
"The bottom line for us is your construction (and) design will come in under the $8 million," he said.
Commissioners declared several pieces of city-owned equipment surplus and set for auction. Dave Haskell, public works superintendent, said he had four items that were no longer being used by the city or had become too costly to repair. These included a 1988 1494 Case International Tractor with Alamo Terrain King Flail Mower, 1975 931 Caterpillar Traxcavator Loader/Bulldozer, HD 315 Woods Batwing Rotary Blade Mower and four 30 cubic yard recycling drop boxes.
Haskell said he would advertise the items and then sell them to the highest bidder with a sealed bid auction.