Councilors hold off on city manager choice after 2 interviews

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home City Council decided Monday to hold off a couple of days before making a final decision whether to hire its top candidate as city manager.

Following final interviews of two candidates and discussion in an executive session, which was closed to the public, the council returned to regular open session Monday evening with plans to continue the discussion in an executive session at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the City Council chamber, 1140 12th Ave.

The council narrowed its decision down to one candidate but did not decide whether to extend a job offer to its final candidate for the city manager position.

Mayor Jim Gourley directed interim manager Christy Wurster to let one of the candidates, Harry Staven of Bandon, know that the council was not going to extend an offer to him at this time.

“We have not made a decision on the other candidate at this time,” Gourley said. “At this time, the council is not ready to make a decision.”

The council wanted to take additional time to consider whether to offer the position to Raymond Towry of Ephrata, Wash.

Both finalists toured Sweet Home Monday morning followed by a lunch, a public meet and greet and final interviews.

Staven was most recently finance director in Bandon, according to his resume, with various jobs as finance director, administrator and city manager in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, New Mexico, Ohio, Kansas and North Carolina.

Towry has worked for Ephrata, Wash., since 2004, according to his resume. Following graduation from the University of Washington with a degree in business in 1998, he worked as youth recreation and aquatic director in Moscow, Idaho, and then recreation supervisor in Moses Lake, Wash., before Ephrata, his hometown, recruited him.

He took the position taking a pay cut, he said Monday, because it was time for him to give back to his community.

In Ephrata, he is parks, recreation, public relations and tourism (community services) director, according to his resume.

He completed a master’s degree degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 2015.

Two other finalists withdrew from the process prior to Monday. If the council does not extend a job offer, it could choose to begin a new process and develop a new pool of applicants.

Present at the meeting Monday evening were councilors James Goble, Ryan Underwood, Greg Mahler, Gourley, Dave Trask, Jeff Goodwin and Diane Gerson.