City Manager Lays Egg in Oregon
CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OR – Today is the day that the people of Oregon have a chance to meet two candidates under consideration for the county administrator position in Clackamas County. One of the three finalists dropped out yesterday to take the job as city manager for the city of Lebanon. That leaves Rick Daniels, the city manager of Desert Hot Springs as a top contender for blowing out of town getting hired.
However, Oregon is a green land with a few community activists unlikely to totally stick their heads in the ground and do nothing. The Tea Party ought to be specially concerned considering Rick Daniels history of deficit spending and leaving the city to solve his spending problems by raising taxes.
Now armed with background information about the history of both candidates, local Oregon commentators are already asking for a redo of the headhunting process that would provide Rick Daniels a convenient exit from the poor city he managed to trash with a fiscal crisis.
According to The Oregonian newspaper yesterday, on Tuesday, the county announced that finalist Dana Hlavac dropped out of the running to become Lebanon’s city manager, leaving two candidates for the meet-and-greet today from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Abernethy Center, 606 15th St. in Oregon City. This pits Rick Daniels against Donald Krupp from Washington State.
Rick Daniels resume is the weaker of the two. Donald Krupp’s educational background is better. Daniels spent more time describing the city than he did his qualifications. Krupp provide detail in a very administrative manner about his work environment. Daniels talks about the physical environment of the city he is leaving.
“Thurston County government is comprised of seventeen departments supported by 1,056 employees, about half of whom work in departments under the city manager,” wrote Krupp. That speaks of a guy that understands organizational structure.
That speaks of a guy that understands organizational structure, said Paul Myers of EDRS. Compare that to Daniels’ resume that reads, “’Four department heads, the city clerk and an analyst report to me’ and saying ‘the city enjoys cooler summer temperatures,’ its uncertain what people hiring would care about that,” said Myers.
“The process will in some part come down to personalities. It always does,” said Myers. “That is what meet-and-greets are all about. How do I feel about this person? Even if a resume is not as strong an employer may just like him better. Or, his resume is really strong and an employer will like him also, all the better.”
Listed in the Desert Hot Springs budget was a new lower salary for the city manager position at $195,000 per year. Rick Daniels finally proposed cutting his pay. Coincidentally, $195,000 per year is the same salary advertised for the County Administrator position in Clackamas County where Desert Hot Springs City Manager Rick Daniels is one of two finalists.
The salary for the Clackamas County administrator position was advertised on May 10, 2013 in a ten-page recruitment brochure circulated by the recruiting firm Colin Baenziger & Associates of Wellington, Florida the county hired to conduct the nationwide search.
If you are looking for an outstanding opportunity to make a difference in a progressive county while enjoying an outstanding quality of life, Clackamas County is the place for you.
It would have been exactly three months ago that Rick Daniels determined Clackamas County and not Desert Hot Springs was the place for him. Daniels application was submitted almost immediately after the position was advertised, causing some to wonder if Daniels is on the inside track due to his previous associations in Oregon.
The $195,000 number is actually the top of the range for the Oregon job. As CB & Associates explained, the salary range for the County Administrator position is $144,469 – $195,000 with the actual salary to be determined based on qualifications and experience.
If Rick Daniels lands the job and is able to negotiate the top salary, it will represent a $59,000 cut in annual income. Benefits will also not be as rich as Daniels now enjoys as Desert Hot Springs city manager. For example, instead of fourteen paid holidays, Clackamas provides its employees just nine days.
CB & Associates explained the challenges Rick Daniels is facing should he land the job. While Clackamas County is not suffering the same level of economic stress many local governments are facing, resources are tight and must be used wisely. The community is also very engaged in the political process with a whopping seventy citizen’s advisory committees. Citizens in the city of Desert Hot Springs are far less engaged with a cloud of apathy hanging over the city.
Clackamas also has an urban/rural divide that creates competing interests and “requires a real balancing act.” Rick Daniels struggle for equilibrium in his former job created a galvanizing presence often opposed by two progressive council members.
Oregon’s County Administrator position will need to interact with sixteen cities and metro planning agencies. It is an intergovernmental challenge. So too is a challenge in dealing with economic development. Bringing new businesses to the county to generate revenue is needed to maintain 9,000 miles of paved and unpaved roads. Part of the economic pressure comes from a downturn in the forest industry of which the county has traditionally been dependent for it revenue.
The demographic environment will be considerably different than that of Desert Hot Springs, California. Clackamas County has an average median income of $63,790 compared to Desert Hot Springs at $15,750. Its population is 384,000 people compared to 27,000.
Only 9.5% of Clackamas County residents live below the national poverty line while most of Desert Hot Springs is considered to be below that line. Industry no doubt makes the difference in the income levels with Clackamas County being home to seven companies employing between 1,000 to 2,000 people and another 10 companies at the 1,000 employee range.
Of course it will not be nearly has hot for Daniels as it is in Desert Hot Springs. The average high in August is 81 degrees.
Here’s a quick summary of the remaining two gleaned from their resumes and brief internet searching:
Rick Daniels has been the city manager for Desert Hot Springs since 2007, a city of 28,000 that is part of Coachella Valley, known for its popular music festival. Daniels promoted and approved spending $250,000 for a music festival event in the city that never happened. Daniels promised to get the money back but never did.
Rick Daniels is a Duck, and worked in several Oregon municipalities after graduating from the University of Oregon in 1974 before moving to California. His background includes working in the trash business and overseeing smaller governmental agencies than Clackamas County.
The city manager has been criticized publicly and has often been accused of mismanagement and corruption, sometimes by the public and by two city councilors. However, he is also praised by three city councilors, city hall staff and some Desert Hot Springs residents in the city newspaper.
Rick Daniels stuck himself in the midst of a complaint against two city councilors, claims he was harassed and bullied, creating a hostile work environment. Although it was reported in The Desert Sun and later repeated in The Oregonian newspapers, that Rick Daniels received phone calls in the middle of the night, that is not what his complaint was all about. Phone calls were never mentioned, it was email.
Rick Daniels complained he was sent emails from two council members during his off hours, at night and during his weekends on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Although Daniels complaint targeted council members Russell Betts and Adam Sanchez he conveniently ignored the fact that his friend, council member Jan Pye also sent him emails during his non working hours. Betts and Sanchez never demanded when Daniels read his emails, in fact informing him in advance that their email should be read during working hours.
These are the facts of his complaint costing the city $77,470 to investigate thanks to the approval of the three council members in control of the city, and friends with Daniels.
According to The Oregonian, Donald Krupp is the Thurston County manager in Washington, which is composed of rural land and large unincorporated areas, with some urban areas. Farms are a large economic driver.
Krupp spent most of his career in Arizona and California before working for the state of Washington and then Thurston County.
Krupp has taken some heat for overseeing a $43.5 million new county jail that has been sitting empty since it finished construction in 2010. Elected officials are also targeted for criticism in the decision to build a jail without the money to run it or staff it, according to the newspaper The Olympian.
He’s been the top executive with the county since 2001 with few other complaints.
For over 40 years Dean has been published in a variety of small newspapers and magazines. As publisher he founded an alternative city weekly newspaper in 2008 and published over 200 uninterrupted issues over 4 years to over 20,000 readers via 800 locations (and online) before selling the business. Now online with over 3 million readers worldwide.
Dean is a Master Carpenter and the author of the biography of Hilda M Gray, desert homesteader. He served as Planning Commissioner for the city of Desert Hot Springs from January 2014 to January 2015 when he resigned.
Dean M Gray is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors and lives in Palm Desert, California.