EUGENE, Ore. — The saga surrounding the Lane County Board of Commissioners’ firing of its last administrator may finally be coming to a close. The board held a meet and greet with the five candidates who are in the running to take over the position vacated by Liane Richardson.
Filled with back-to-back interviews with the board and other county staff at the Lane County Public Service Building and that evening with the public, Thursday was a long day for the final five. Commissioners say the last year was a rough one, but they hope the imminent hiring of a new county administrator could be the beginning of a new chapter filled with a brighter future for Lane County.
Even with the release of the full report into why Lane County decided to fire Richardson, many questions remain and the biggest of which just might be, “How can we move forward?” The board believes a lot of that controversy overshadowed important issues and accomplishments and they’re hoping this hiring will change that.
Lane County Board of Commissioners Chair Pat Farr says, “Removing the distraction of not having a full-time county administrator will go a great distance as to reestablishing the trust.”
That is why the board decided to allow the public to mingle with the final five candidates up for the job. While all from different places, each one is hoping to be the chosen one, the one with the answer to how the county can regain and maintain the public’s faith.
California candidate Ronald Bates, City Manager in Pico Rivera, says, “We need to make sure we deliver on that promise to the voters and make sure we deliver exactly in a timely manner and that we report back to the public.”
“One of the ideas I have is to create a portal on the city’s website called ‘It’s Your Money’ where they can look at all the city expenditures. So, that creates a lot of transparency and trust and if they want to do some research, it’s right there for them,” says Jeffrey Mihelich, Assistant City Manager for Surprise, AZ.
Steve Mokrohisky, County Manager for Douglas County, NV, says, “That starts with engaging the residents in a dialogue, a thoughtful dialogue about what challenges the community is facing and what solutions are out there that we can all come together around.”
“I think it’s important in roles as public leaders to be open and transparent and I certainly would certainly bring that philosophy here with me,” says Travis Myren, Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Administration for Dane County, WI.
Commissioners say each of these candidates is qualified, but they’re also looking for the right match, the individual who is capable of turning the page and writing a new story with the community.
Christopher Jordan, City Manager for West Linn, OR, didn’t want to talk with KEZI because of how it could impact his current job.
In regards to what’s next, deliberation on who should be offered the job will continue through Friday, with a decision being made as early as next week.