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Lebanon council decides to look further for city manager

Following in-person interviews with two finalists for Lebanon’s vacant city manager position, City Council members have decided to seek an interim city manager to lead the city.

According to a statement released by the city Thursday, June 25, “the council has decided that neither candidate was the right fit for the Lebanon city manager position” following interviews by a community panel and a Meet and Greet to allow citizens to meet the two finalists, Troy Swanson of Anchorage, Alaska, and Christy Wurster, current city manager of Silverton.

Both events were held Tuesday, June 23. On Wednesday, June 24, the City Council held an executive session and interviewed the two candidates.

The council has decided to seek an interim city manager to help manage and maintain city staff and services while the council regroups and works on a plan to find the right individual that would fit well into the city organization, the city statement said.

Prior to making their decision, councilors reviewed comments from the community panel, staff, and citizens who attended the Meet and Greet, the statement said.

“I am very thankful to both of our candidates for their patience working through the difficult and lengthy hiring process,” Mayor Paul Aziz said. “After weighing all the interviews, staff, and community input, the council decided that there was not a right fit and we need to continue the search. We want to make sure we get the right person and not just hire someone to fill the position.”

Beginning last winter, the city has been seeking a new manager to replace Gary Marks, who resigned last year. It contracted with Prothman, a Washington-based executive search firm, to conduct the recruitment process, which was “slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

Electronic interviews were held with candidates in April and May and the two finalists were selected.

City Engineer Ron Whitlatch, who has served as interim manager since September 2019, will continue in that role until an interim city manager can be chosen, the statement said.