City Manager Announces Resignation

City Manager Kelcey Young smiles for a photo in front of the new dais’ at City Hall. Photo by Sarah Brown

Closing in on her second year as Sweet Home’s city manager, Kelcey Young announced she will be resigning from the position due to death threats and bullying.

Despite having moved the city forward on many fronts, Young said she has received abusive calls from a handful of people in the community and, as such, has decided to take up a city manager position in another city twice the size of Sweet Home.

“The majority of my time in Sweet Home has been wonderful,” she explained. “However, there has definitely been some interactions with community members and a council member that has made my time very challenging and made it so that I couldn’t be as successful and as productive as I wanted to be.”

Young, at left, conducts business during a City Council meeting in 2023.
File Photo

According to Young, she received phone calls over a period of time from oftentimes anonymous community members who screamed at her, and there was one public instance when an individual told her he hopes she dies.

Most of the threats centered around the new park at Osage Street and the Green Peter drawdown situation, but also concerned a post Young once made regarding littering and other projects that have impacted the community, she said.

“It’s become a reaction, if somebody doesn’t like something, to sometimes take it to that level,” she said.

Young shared that she knows of other people in the community who had interest in running for council or being on committees, but are afraid to do so or are afraid to speak up on a matter because they don’t want to be treated the same way.

But she made it clear that Sweet Home has a pool of people who are dedicated to making the city a better place.

Residents listen to Kelcey Young as she provides information about the Paint the Town project last year. File Photo

“I think a majority of the community wants to make Sweet Home a better place, and there are some incredible people in Sweet Home,” she said. “There are a ton of people who are putting in the work, putting in the effort and trying to make Sweet Home better, and are incredible people, and I hope that they keep doing what they’re doing.”

In the two years that Young served the community, she has been involved in assisting FAC with its opening and soon-to-be expansion, getting 40 buildings painted through a Paint the Town project, installing new LED street lights, paving Juniper Street, opening Quarry Park to the public for camping, initiating Phase II of Sankey Park, securing funding for the wastewater facility, providing a new dais and microphone system for the council chambers,

completing the Parks Master Plan, installing new swings at Sankey Park and two flashing crosswalks (with a third in the works), reviving SHARE, wrapping up the ODOT sidewalk project, starting a community market, starting to build three new parks, initiating a City Hall Citizen’s Academy, approving two new murals and adjusting the budget to save money while also adding more income.

“Kelcey has been a forward thinker,” Mayor Susan Coleman said. “She has had creative ideas and often thinks outside the box.”

City council members listen to City Manager Kelcey Young (in the foreground) as she tries to get a response from them about how they would like to modify council behavior rules during a recent work session. Photo by Sarah Brown

Young accepted the position in August 2022 while she was finance director for the City of Clearlake, Calif.

Prior to that, she worked in Washington for parks and recreation, art and art walks, and procurement at Bellevue College. From there she moved to San Antonio, Texas, where was a contract administrator and contract manager for the city, managing $560 million and $850 million bonds for projects that included a new city hall, arena, stormwater, roads and other infrastructure.

Then she moved to Dallas, Texas, to work as the city’s assistant director of procurement operations, helping with some of the city’s compliance issues. There, she developed a contracting program and compliance system, and trained staff on how to use it. Young had said that while at both cities in Texas, she was involved with school districts, parks, nonprofits and development projects.

Moving on to California, Young handled Clearlake’s budget and payroll, worked on various development opportunities and business licenses, and oversaw emergency management before accepting Sweet Home’s offer.

Kelcey Young, at left, waits to present a key to the city to Fitzpatrick Painting for their efforts in the Paint the Town project last year. File Photo

“We hope that the entire community will join us in extending a warm welcome to Kelcey as she acclimates to our community and helps lead us into the future,” then-mayor Greg Mahler said in 2022. “The city is on a good trajectory and our goal is to continue to follow this path to make our community an even sweeter place to live.”

Councilor Angelita Sanchez noted then that Young presented a great strategic plan to move Sweet Home ahead, was certified in multiple disciplines and she had a high success rate with securing grants.

“I really want to secure as much grant funding as we possibly can to save residents in this community as much money as possible when we need things fixed,” Sanchez told The New Era in 2022.

Sanchez added that she expected Young would be proactive and productive. Councilor Dylan Richards had said Young “seems really motivated and willing to put her head down and get a lot done.”

Looking back over the last three city managers, including Young, Mahler noted all three have had positive approaches to move the city forward.

Young, at right, swears in Officer Mark Birkett last November.
File Photo

It is City Council that selects the city manager to manage the budget, supervise personnel and execute policies. Typically they spend their days performing city management functions that are, ultimately, dictated by the council. While Young may work on various projects intended to support the community, it is City Council that decides whether she pursues those projects or not.

Coleman added that Young has “championed our community to all leaders and organizations she has been in contact with,” improved staff morale, built or rebuilt relations with other agencies, brought many grants into the city (totaling “hundreds of thousands”) and got all bank reconciliations caught up.

“Sweet Home is losing someone who has believed in how great Sweet Home is and all the good it can become,” Coleman said. “It is losing someone who worked harder than anyone I know to find creative solutions to improving Sweet Home.”

Young’s last day will be in early August.

City Manager Kelcey Young, left, and Mayor Susan Coleman, right, unveil a dedication monument at Sankey Park this spring. File Photo

“I am going to be leaving a big part of my heart in Sweet Home,” Young said. “I’ve met so many amazing, wonderful people here and Sweet Home has a ton of potential. I just really hope everybody can band together and see that potential.”

Projects she intends to wrap up before her departure include paving projects, building the park at Osage Street, completing a plan for family housing, launching citizens academy, finishing a grant to get generators for emergencies, wrapping up the startup of CSC and a wellness center. She also expects the Green Peter lawsuits will be in a good place by then.

An interim manager and plans for moving forward are not yet solidified.

“I am sorry to lose Kelcey, yet happy for her and her family as her career continues on an  upward trajectory.”