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Dylan Digby hired as new West Linn assistant to the city manager

West Linn has not had an assistant in the city management department since Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt departed in March 2016. And as City Manager Eileen Stein emphasized, Digby's role will differ from Wyatt's.

Growing up in and around West Linn — first in the Willamette area and then on a small farm just outside the city — it would have been difficult for Dylan Digby to imagine that one day he would rise to the top of a list of 183 applicants for West Linn's assistant to the city manager position.

As an adult, Digby earned a science degree from Oregon State University and spent some time working in marine biology before he shifted into local government. But after more than 11 years working in West Linn's Parks and Recreation, Building, Planning and Engineering departments, Digby proved to be a natural fit for the new administrative role. The hire was announced to City staff Feb. 27.

"It's exciting to be involved at a different level, with a different perspective and new types of projects, in a community that I've grown up around," Digby said. "I'm interested in learning even more about the technical details of how the City operates and, hopefully, using my experience to make it run more smoothly for both citizens and staff."

West Linn has not had an assistant in the city management department since Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt departed in March 2016. And as City Manager Eileen Stein emphasized, Digby's role will differ from Wyatt's.

"An 'assistant to the city manager' is a title that is generally given to an entry-level professional pursuing a local government career who specifically may want to be a city manager one day," Stein said. "The duties of the position will generally include supporting the city manager in carrying out the City Council's goals and managing the organization, in general."

Specifically, Digby will spend time tracking citizen inquiries and requests, as well as special projects, while performing research and working on intergovernmental projects.

"An assistant city manager will also do many of these tasks," Stein said. "Except an assistant city manager will serve as the acting city manager in the manager's absence. The ACM will handle more complex projects … the ACM may also supervise one or more department directors. For example, Kirsten Wyatt supervised the (human resources) department."

Digby will not have that department supervising role, which will instead shift to Stein in the case of both human resources and information technology.

"Obviously, with a reduced scope of duties and responsibilities, the assistant to the city manager is a lower paid position," Stein said. "So we will have budget savings with this move."

After his parents emigrated from England, Digby was born in the Midwest before moving to West Linn when he was just a few months old.

"I spent my early childhood in West Linn on 16th Street in the Willamette area," he said. "I fondly remember playing with neighbor kids at the end of the street, and Radio Flyer wagon rides to Willamette Park and to the Sentry — I think it was called — grocery store to get candy."

After his family moved to a farm outside of West Linn, Digby attended primary and middle school in Wilsonville before shifting to West Linn High School for several years until a high school was finally built in Wilsonville.

"I worked at Thriftway (before it was Market of Choice) during high school stocking shelves and carrying groceries out to cars," Digby said. "I spent a good amount of time making friends with the (Willamette Falls) lockskeepers, even getting a couple of rides through the locks on a tugboat when I probably should have been in class. My parents almost found out when we took a family boat ride through the locks and the lockskeeper knew me by name."

Upon returning to West Linn as a professional, Digby worked his way up to his most recent position as a "public improvement specialist" in the engineering division of the Public Works department.

"(It's) essentially an analyst position working on special projects, IGAs, grants, agreements, plans/plats, reporting, budgeting, contracts," Digby said. "I've spent a good amount of time in the field inspecting infrastructure projects in the past. I've also worked in Parks and Recreation, Planning, and Building for the City of West Linn which has given me a well-rounded view of City operations."

Now, as he begins work at his new position, Digby says he is mostly in the "learning and transition phase."

"(I'm) still carrying some duties from my prior position and continuing some budget work, but I have been working on some citizen advisory groups details and how we are improving and expanding our public engagement," Digby said. "I've also been supporting Eileen (Stein) with some council items, including moving the council goals forward."

By Patrick Malee
Assistant Editor, West Linn Tidings
Pamplin Media Group
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