Camas nears administrator pick

Both of the final two candidates are now holding similar positions in Oregon cities' management

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

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A longtime Oregon city government leader is expected to become Camas' second-ever city administrator. Just who that person is remains unknown.

On Thursday, Camas Mayor Scott Higgins interviewed the city's top two choices -- Erik Jensen, director of the Hillsboro, Ore., Administration Department, and Craig Martin, city manager of Sweet Home, Ore. Jensen and Martin were selected from among five finalists by a panel of local government and business leaders.

Higgins will decide which person to hire and the city council will confirm who will lead Camas, the second-most-populous city in Clark County. There is no timetable on when Higgins will make his selection, Camas City Administrator Lloyd Halverson said Friday, noting that more interviews and reference checks could be in order.

Halverson, 65, intends to step away from full-time duties with the city this year, having served in his current capacity since May 1989. He plans to relinquish his full-time duties at the end of September, if the city has a replacement set, and then work part-time until March 2013.

Camas city officials previously said they hoped to finish contract negotiations with their top choice by month's end. Once hired, the new city administrator could start as early as October, if he is available.

The new city administrator will earn between $113,000 and $135,000 per year, based on experience. Halverson earned $126,450 in 2011. He was scheduled to make $127,625 this year, if he had worked full time the entire year.

The candidates

Jensen has served four years as director of Hillsboro's Administration Department, managing 12 employees and a $3.4 million budget. From 1998 to 2007, he was project manager for Hillsboro's Administration Department. Hillsboro is Oregon's fifth-most-populous city, with more than 91,000 residents.

Martin has been Sweet Home's city manager for 15 years. He manages six department supervisors and 57 other full-time employees. He is responsible for a $23 million municipal budget. Sweet Home has a population of 8,925, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Among the finalists who did not make the final two were: Camas High School Principal Steve Marshall; Clark County Community Development Director Martin Snell; and Oak Harbor City Administrator Paul Schmidt. They reached the final stage from among 51 applicants.

Before Thursday, the five finalists met with two panels including three former Camas mayors -- Nan Henriksen, Paul Dennis and Dean Dossett -- Washougal Mayor Sean Guard, Clark County Administrator Bill Barron and Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes, among others.

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517; http://facebook.com/raylegend; http://twitter.com/col_smallcities; ray.legendre@columbian.com.