Oak Lodge Water hires Sarah Jo Chaplen as general manager
At a special meeting Monday, Sept. 11, the Board of Directors of the Oak Lodge Water Services District approved the hiring of Former Hillsboro City Manager Sarah Jo Chaplen as the agency's new general manager.
Chaplen is expected to start work Wednesday, Sept. 27.
OLWSD Board Chair Jim Martin said that Chaplen had greatly impressed the board with her discussion of issues critical to the district and her management experience.
Chaplen worked as a "change agent" in leading Hillsboro through a new police chief and fire chief during her tenure from 2007 to 2010. She comes to OLWSD in the wake of Former OLWSD General Manager Dan Bradley this year being given an approximately $150,000 severance package to retire early. After a May 2016 vote by citizens to merge local water and sewer services under OLWSD, the district still has to finalize joint billing processes and move all of its staff into one building.
Chaplen will make $160,000 a year to lead OLWSD, $20,000 a year less than Bradley was making at the end of his career with OLWSD. According to an employment contract approved this week, Chaplen may receive incentive compensation and cost-of-living increases at the board's discretion.
Chaplen will be given 85 hours of vacation time and 80 hours of sick leave immediately upon starting employment with OLWSD on Sept. 27, in addition to earning 204 hours of vacation time and 96 hours of sick leave a year. If the OLWSD board ever wants to fire her without cause, they'll have to pay her six month's severance, plus her accrued vacation time.
Chaplen most recently has been the director of independent-living services for the Oregon Commission for the Blind, where she has worked since 2015. According to the state, she leads the team that provides in-home and community-based rehabilitation training and counseling services to adults not seeking employment in order to help them live as independently as possible.
Previously, as deputy director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, Chaplen was hired by the state as it addressed management of major IT projects and state cybersecurity, after several high-profile project failures and data breaches. She has also held positions with the city of Canby, and was the interim human-resources manager for Woodburn for a few months.
Her work experience includes responsibilities important to OLWSD including sewage treatment, water treatment, transmission and storage. According to a press release from OLWSD, Chaplen also has extensive experience with intergovernmental relationships and contract management.
Chaplen, who was raised in England and Kuwait, has received a master's degree in public administration from Lewis and Clark University.