Candidates Visit: Four vie to be Silverton City Manager

November 2016 Posted in Community, People

By Kristine Thomas

While they agree on the challenges facing Silverton including funding, upgrading and maintaining its infrastructure, planning for the future development and financial planning, the four candidates to be the next city manager disagree on one thing.

Who is best suited for the job, with each candidate saying they have the best skill set.
On Nov. 9, the four candidates attended a “Meet and Greet” at the Oregon Garden Natural Education Resource Center. The reception was an opportunity for the public to meet the finalists. Current City Manager Bob Willoughby retires Jan. 31, 2017.

The candidates are Nancy Brewer, who is the finance director for Corvallis; Robert Francis, Jr., who is the executive director for the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments in The Dallas; Jerry Gillham, who is the city manager of Sutherlin and Christy Wurster, who is the city manager pre-tem for Sweet Home.

Nancy Brewer

Nancy Brewer

Brewer
When Brewer served as the interim city manager this year, she learned something about herself.
“I loved being city manager,” she said. “It was fun, it was invigorating and when I learned of the job in Silverton, I decided to pursue it.”
With more than 25 years in public service, Brewer said she has the experience needed including labor relations, budget and financial planning and strategic planning.“I understand the issues facing Silverton and I have the ability to work with the council, staff and community to find creative solutions,” Brewer said.

Robert Francis, Jr

Robert Francis, Jr

Francis

For Francis, being part of city government goes back to the time he served as borough manager for Stroudsburg, Penn. An elderly woman didn’t know how she could fix her sidewalk and her husband was in a wheelchair. Francis worked with the woman and helped get the job done in two weeks. She came to a council meeting to thank him.“To me, that is the hallmark of what city management should be,” Francis said. “I like working with people and having the opportunity to improve the quality of their lives.”

Jerry Gillham

Jerry Gillham

Gillham
Gillham’s goal is to prevent cities from having “Mr. Bernard” moments. He shared the story of a man who while in his 20s, lobbied to keep a business away that would provide more than 200 jobs. Many years later, he regretted the move as he watched what happened to his town. Describing himself as collaborative, he aims to bring people together, educate them and get them to look at problems from the same vantage point, that is the key to moving forward.

Christy Wurster

Christy Wurster

Wurster
With more than 20 years of experience in local government, Wurster said she has the ability and experience to know how to tackle challenges facing the city from writing grants for sewer and water updates to helping with downtown renovations.“I have a passion for local government,” she said. “I want to use my skill set to benefit the community, help find answers to the challenges facing it and engage people to become involved. I am continuously looking at how to improve a community so it can deliver its services and look to the future.”

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