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Scappoose moves forward with recruitment of city manager

by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Scappoose interim City Manager Don Otterman said the recruitment firm the city retained Monday to recruit a new city manager will likely have applicants for the City Council to review by late April. The Scappoose City Council took action Monday, Feb. 3, toward hiring a new permanent city manager. The City Council voted Monday to retain city manager recruitment services from recruiting firm Prothman and Associates at a cost of $18,000 plus expenses, which may range from $4,900 to $6,875, according to a report from the city of Scappoose.

“They're [putting together] the time schedule to try to have all the interviews completed so that the council can make a decision by the end of April,” said Scappoose interim City Manager Don Otterman, adding that he was able to talk Greg Prothman, the firm's founder, into lowering the original bid by $500.

The city is seeking a new city manager after negotiating the termination of former City Manager Jon Hanken’s contract with the city last November. The City Council opted to pay Hanken a one year’s severance totaling $110,000, plus health and retirement benefits.

The city sent requests for proposals to 12 companies and advertised the proposals in the Spotlight and the Daily Journal of Commerce, receiving a total of eight proposals in return. The proposals were narrowed down to Prothman and Associates by a subcommittee made up of Scappoose City Councilors Mark Reed and Barbara Hayden and interim City Manager Don Otterman.

Prothman will begin its recruitment process by interviewing each Scappoose City Councilor and department head individually to gain an understanding of what the city is seeking in its new city manager, then build a profile from which to recruit candidates.

“There were several reasons why we selected Prothman,” Hayden said. “Number one is they're from Issaquah, Wash., so they know the northwest, they know all the peculiar things that we deal with here in the northwest especially with the weather and some other things and we felt that their expenses would not be near what they would be if we'd have chosen like the one out of Arizona or California and flying people back and forth. Issaquah is actually drivable… and they gave us a two-year guarantee on the person... and their fee was one of the lowest we got.”

The lowest bid the city received was about $13,000 and the highest base fee was $24,000, Hayden said.

Otterman said Prothman and Associates already have a number of candidates on-deck who might make a good fit for the position.

“They had 50 applications for the Hood River [city manager] job, they narrowed it down to the top five and Greg [Prothman] told me that he really felt that all five were top-notch candidates.”

Otterman said although they firm already has some promising applicants, that doesn't necessarily mean they will apply for the position in Scappoose.