The City of Canby has a front-runner in its search for a new city administrator, following a series of panel interviews Tuesday, a meet and greet event at Wait Park and a closed-door session held late that evening.
Interim City Administrator Amanda Zeiber told the Canby Now Podcast that councilors “came to a consensus” in the executive session and plan to make an announcement at Wednesday night’s regularly scheduled meeting.
The front-runner will receive a conditional job offer, contingent upon successful completion of a background check conducted by a third-party investigator. His name will not be announced until the background process is completed, Zeiber said.
The background check is fairly extensive and is expected to take about three weeks, followed by contract negotiation.
Zeiber, who had previously announced she would be stepping down from her position with the city as of Sept. 1, said she has agreed to stay on until the new city administrator is on board, which she anticipates will take about six weeks.
On Tuesday night, Mayor Brian Hodson introduced the three men — Scott Archer, Brian Bosshardt and Randy Robertson — and asked them to share a little bit about themselves from the gazebo, as well as answer two questions: their most embarrassing moment and how to preserve Canby’s small town charm in the midst of its continuing growth.
After being allowed to speak for 10 minutes each, the trio assumed their positions throughout the park and met with those in attendance, answering questions and explaining how they would fulfill the role of Canby’s chief executive — if given the chance. Their wives accompanied each candidate and also participated in the event.
One of the three will be asked to lead the city through its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the continued growth in Canby’s housing index and industrial park, and the numerous retirements or departures that have left the city with new people or vacancies in many key positions, including the directors of public works, transit, the library, planning, human resources and assistant city administrator.
Archer has spent four years as director of NCPRD, a network of more than 75 parks and recreational opportunities in Happy Valley, Milwaukie and the surrounding areas.
NCPRD serves over 116,000 residents and includes the six-mile Trolley Trail, Mount Talbert Nature Park, North Clackamas Park, Hood View Sports Complex, Milwaukie Center and Aquatic Park.
Archer said he and his wife have been planning a move to Canby anyway — one they intend to follow-through on regardless of whether he’s ultimately the City Council’s choice.
“So, whether I’m your city administrator or not, you may be stuck with us anyway,” he joked. “We love spending time here. We love coming into Canby and visiting the restaurants and shops and all that.”
If selected as city administrator, he said he would continue the proactive approach that he has already seen the city take over the years.
“I really have sensed strongly that this town in particular has about knowing that growth is going to happen but being sort of cautiously wary of that,” he said. “But at the same time, growth will happen, and so instead of fight it, you can work with it and get ahead of it.”
Archer previously spent 12 years with the City of Oregon City, most recently as its community services director, where he oversaw the pool, Pioneer Adult Community Center, a 55-acre cemetery, 37 parks and even historical properties like the Ermatinger House.
From 2009 to 2012, Archer served as a board member for the National Recreation and Parks Association’s Pacific Northwest region, and is a former president of the board of directors for Oregon Recreation and Parks Association.
Prior to his work for Oregon City, Archer served as parks and recreation director for the cities of Medford, Ore., and Ellensburg, Wash.
Archer has a bachelor of science in health and human performance, and sport science management.
Bosshardt is the son of a Methodist minister and grew up in several small towns in Minnesota “not dissimilar to the city of Canby.”
“Early in my career, I think I realized that I developed a sense of public service from my father,” he said. “Because there’s such a tie between the work we do in local government, serving the public from City Hall, just as my father was serving the public from his church, from his public.”
If selected as city administrator, he said he would bring the passion for local government and vision for public service that he has developed over his more than 20 years of local government experience.
“It’s more than just the services we provide,” he said. “It’s about building a better community. It’s about building a better Canby, in the end.”
Bosshardt has served a range of administrative and managerial positions, including as organization development administrator for the City of Chandler, Arizona, deputy county manager for the Incorporated City & County of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and most recently, as city manager in Bedford, Texas, from April 2017 until January of this year.
His job in Texas ended in what all parties described as a mutually agreed upon “parting of the ways.”
The mayor of Bedford told reporters that Bosshardt was not fired, but that “the City of Bedford and Brian Bosshardt have mutually agreed that he will no longer be serving in a City Manager role, effective immediately.”
The decision followed a meeting in executive session and was 5-2, with two council members voting against the agreement.
Bosshardt earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hamline University and a master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University.
Robertson has served as the city manager of Aberdeen since 2016, including a sizable contract extension he received two years ago.
He is a former U.S. Army officer who retired after 24 years of service, after which he served as a brigade executive/chief of staff in Europe from 2001-05, and chief of staff for the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico from 2005-06.
From there, he went on to serve as a city manager in Ashland, Kentucky, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and Cordova, Alaska.
On Tuesday, Robertson applauded the work the city of Canby has done so far in successfully merging the rural surrounding farms and more urban neighborhoods into a cohesive community. He touted his experience as one of the strengths he would bring to the position.
“I’ve been a city manager basically since I retired from the Army, and I’ve managed five city,” he said. “And I think the breadth of serving that range of experience … is something that I could be value-added to you. I think I could do well with you, and I’m really excited about the possibilities of working on your long-range plans, because I think you’re spot on.”
In March, he was offered the opportunity to return to Alaska as city manager of Homer, but he declined the job after a council member questioned his truthfulness during the interview. The council member later apologized for his remarks and voted in favor of offering Robertson a contract.
Robertson has a bachelor’s degree in government and history from Western Kentucky University and three master’s degrees: one in urban planning from John Hopkins University, one in public administration from Western Kentucky University and one in strategic planning from the United States Army War College.
Hear from all three candidates in the video below: