Decision time: Mount Angel considers three city manager candidates

August 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

By Kristine Thomas

The three candidates vying to be the next city manager of Mount Angel all agree on the two major issues facing the city: finances and growth.

And the two go hand-in-hand, they all said in separate interviews at an open house on July 15. Growth would allow the city to increase its financial base so it could pay for current and future needs such as infrastructure.

The candidates are Steve Dahl, Steven Hasson and Zoe Monahan.

The Mount Angel City Council plans to continue its deliberations on who to hire as its next city manager at its Aug. 1 meeting.

Mount Angel Assistant to the City Manager Justin Hogue said three candidates were interviewed by the council on July 16. After the interviews, the council met in executive session to discuss who to hire but convened into open session without making a choice.

“One reason they are waiting to make a decision,” Hogue said, “is there were only five out of the seven council members there. They want all seven members to make the decision.”

Hogue said all seven plan to be at the Aug. 1 meeting.

On July 15, the three finalists attended an informal, public meet-and-greet reception at the Mount Angel Library community room.

Steve Dahl was recently the city manager of Phoenix, Ore., for three years. He has a master’s degree in management from Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University.

After working 10 years in Southern Oregon, Dahl said he wants to return to the Willamette Valley. The challenges he perceives facing the city are solving its financial and infrastructure needs.

“I think Mount Angel and its residents have a strong sense of identity,” Dahl said. “I think the next step for the community is deciding what direction it wants to go.”

Part of solving the city’s infrastructure and financial questions depends on if residents want the town to grow or stay the same, he said.

Steven Hasson is the city administrator/treasurer for the city of North Bonneville, Wash. He has master’s degrees in public administration from Boise State University and a master’s in business administration from Xavier University. He has more than 34 years of public service experience.

“I applied for the job because it would mean more responsibility and more opportunities and more challenges for me,” Hasson said. “One of the big challenges is solving the financial problem. There isn’t a lot of money in the kitty.”

Hasson said citizens will need to decide if they want some growth to bring in more revenue to pay for city services.

“The growth of the city is tied to the revenue,” he said.

Zoe Monahan is a management analyst for the city of Tualatin. She has a master’s degree in public administration with a specialization in local government management from Portland State University.

Growing up, Monahan recalled family trips to Mount Angel’s Oktoberfest. She applied for the job because she believes she has the skills and the desire to help the city address its infrastructure needs. She also recognizes the citizens need to decide if they want the city to grow.  “I have enjoyed meeting the community members and the business leaders,” she said. “I am a great communicator and enjoy working with people to solve problems.”

On Aug. 1, Hogue said the council will meet in executive session before convening an open meeting. He said the council could decide to hire one of the candidates or to continue its search.

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