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June 21, 2021

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Vancouver adds new deputy city manager

Lon Pluckhahn to join staff on August 2

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Vancouver is adding a new deputy city manager to its staff as part of an ongoing restructuring of leadership at City Hall.

Lon Pluckhahn — who currently serves as the city manager of Marion, Iowa — will join the ranks of city of Vancouver employees effective Aug. 2. The city announced its selection of Pluckhahn in a media release this week.

According to the job posting for the position, Pluckhahn’s salary will be between $184,652 and $239,802 per year.

“I am looking forward to starting a new chapter and becoming a part of the Vancouver community,” Pluckhahn said. “The city has built a great foundation for well-managed growth and abundant opportunities and I am excited to be a part of its continued success.”

Vancouver’s current deputy city manager, Brian Carlson, plans to retire this summer. Carlson had spent 18 years as director of Vancouver Public Works before he took on the deputy city manager’s job in March 2020.

Pluckhahn’s position is the first of two new deputy city manager roles sought by Vancouver leadership, as the city eyes a broader restructuring of its departments and leaders. He will oversee community and economic development, parks, recreation, cultural services and program management teams.

The city is also seeking to hire a second deputy to oversee human resources, information technology, general services and diversity. (Vancouver’s push toward more active equity work picked up momentum in March, when the city hired its first-ever director of diversity, equity and inclusion.)

The salary range for the second deputy manager position is the same as Pluckhahn’s.

Both deputies will answer to current City Manager Eric Holmes, who’s been in his role since 2010.

“We are excited to welcome Lon and his experience and compassionate leadership style to Vancouver later this summer,” Holmes said.

Pluckhahn served as city manager of Marion, a city of around 40,000 residents, for 14 years. Prior to that role, he managed city governments in Platteville, Wis. (population of around 12,000), and West Liberty, Iowa (pop. 3,700).

Pluckhahn is a graduate of Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in community and regional planning. He also holds credentials from the International City Manager’s Association.

Upon announcing his departure, Pluckhahn told local Iowa newspaper The Gazette that he wanted to take on a new career challenge, especially as his high-school-aged children graduate and leave home.

“There are just not that many opportunities to move up the ladder and stay in Iowa,” Pluckhahn told the paper.

He steered the city through the COVID-19 pandemic and through a damaging, fast-moving series of intense winds last August (called a derecho) that did around $35 million in damage. Pluckhahn also played a role in longer-term projects, including the purchase of an airport, the sale of an old library and construction of a new fire department headquarters.

“Making the decision to leave Marion has been one of the toughest of my career,” Pluckhahn told his local paper. “It has been a privilege to be a part of this community and lead the city into the next stage of development.”

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