Toledo City Council: Council says goodbye to City Manager Michelle Amberg / City Attorney Wes Chadwick appointed temporary City Manager until an interim city manager can be hired.
Toledo City Councilors publicly bid their city manager adieu Wednesday night, Michelle Amberg heading for Cresswell, just south of Eugene to be their new City Administrator. Amberg served 5.5 years as Toledo’s top manager, guiding it through some tough sailing to get a plan and financing together to repair and upgrade the town’s long neglected sewer and water systems. As Amberg leaves the city the city will be opening bids March 12th on the Siletz River Water Intake Facility and the transport pipe’s Olalla Lake crossing enroute to the town’s water treatment facility. Amberg said one of the hallmarks of her time as city manager was to take the bull by the horns on sewer and water and actually get things moving. She says the plans are right on and financing was about the best the town could have hoped for. Amberg said “It might have been an odd thing to be borrowing money in the midst of a terrible recession, but we got really low interest rates which will make it easier for Toledo taxpayers in the long run. And for those who wanted Toledo to wait for federal or state grants to help pay for it all, we’re still waiting.” The council agreed it was a good move although not all of them were on the council at the time the decision was made.
Amberg said the city is poised to move forward to achieve some of its council-determined goals for the future, among them a city facilities manager. She said city facilities like city hall and other buildings need regular upkeep and renovating. She said a full time facilities manager is something that should be the city’s top of the list goal as far as any new positions go. She also said police services for Siletz is a high profile issue as long as the Siletz Tribe continues to be committed to providing police services to the community where its tribal offices and medical facilities are located. The tribe has repeatedly stated over the last couple of years that revenues at their Chinook Winds Casino have taken quite a hit as a result of the recession. The tribe cut reimbursement payments to Toledo, prompting a cut back in service levels to Siletz. And making matters a bit more difficult, the Siletz City Council recently decided against putting an emergency services tax surcharge on the ballot.
One by one city councilors thanked Michelle Amberg for her service as city manager. There was an abundance of compliments, both general and very specific, especially pertaining to her professionalism as city manager. They all wished her well and good luck with her new position with the City of Creswell, located about ten miles south of Eugene just off I-5. It will put her closer to her extended family that lives in the Grants Pass area.
Since the city has not yet found an interim city manager to fill in while they find a permanent one, the council appointed City Attorney Wes Chadwick to occupy the manager’s chair until that interim city manager is hired. Council President Terri Strom says they’re interviewing several strong candidates over the next few days and they expect to hire one of them very soon. The interim city manager will have control of the helm until a permanent replacement for Amberg can be brought aboard. The City Charter gives the council up to 12 months to hire a new one, but Strom said it should not take anywhere near that long to fill the position.
In other council action, the council approved a new labor contract with their public safety and fire department employees. The agreement gives workers a 1.8% annual pay increase for each of the three years of the contract. The contract also clarifies the work week for 9-1-1 and non-sworn employees. Certification pay will be awarded to fire department employees. Employees will enjoy individual municipal pool passes and a 10% discount for family members. The city also guarantees that fire department uniforms and protective clothing meets National Fire Protection Association standards. The three year contract is retroactive to July 1st, 2013 and runs through June 30th of 2016, so everyone’s next paycheck will be noticeably more robust.