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Home arrow Opinion arrow Editorials arrow No interim manager

No interim manager

The Baker City Council needs to hire a city manager.

Fortunately, councilors have had quite a lot of practice at this task over the past year.

Which is why they ought to be able to finish this important job before the current manager, Steve Bogart, resigns on Sept. 23.

Last year, after the Council fired Steve Brocato on June 9, 6fi months elapsed before councilors offered the job to Tim Johnson.

Johnson eventually declined that offer, citing the need to care for his ailing mother. The Council then hired Bogart.

After Bogart announced his resignation, Mayor Dennis Dorrah said he “had the thought that we could give Tim Johnson a call.”

That’s a good idea.

(Dorrah said Tuesday that he hadn’t yet made the call.)

In fact, if Johnson’s still not available, then the Council should try to get in touch with Clarence Hulse, James Patrick and Eric Strahl. They are the three other finalists whom councilors interviewed last fall before they offered Johnson the position.

It takes considerably less time, and less money, to make four phone calls than it does to conduct the sort of recruitment the city engaged in last summer.

It just makes sense to capitalize on the investment the city made a year ago, before repeating a lengthy search.

If Johnson is ready now to replace Bogart, then the Council’s decision is an easy one. He was, after all, their first choice just seven months ago.

If Johnson declines again but either Hulse, Patrick or Strahl expresses interest, then councilors should at least have a serious discussion, and, potentially, invite any or all of the three for a formal interview.

Starting from scratch in the search for Bogart’s replacement should be a last resort.

If that’s necessary, though, the Council should accelerate the search as compared to last year’s operation.

The job should be advertised immediately, the list of applicants pared to finalists quickly, and those finalists invited to Baker City for interviews before Labor Day.

That’s a tight timeline, to be sure.

But we’re confident that the City Council can hire a new manager without having to resort to bringing in an interim, a move that extends the period of uncertainty and transition for councilors and city staff.

 
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