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Kelso's former top administrator recommended for Sunnyside city manager seat

Following a slight hiccup, in which a local resident questioned the legality of last night's earlier start time for the Sunnyside City Council, Greg Prothman of Prothman Company delved right into a suggested interim city manager for the city: Doug Robinson, who served as Kelso's city manager for 17 years. Prior to that, Robinson served in Silverton, Ore. for 15 years.

The Prothman Company was hired to help city leaders find a replacement for former City Manager Eric Swansen.

Prothman noted Robinson's tenure in Kelso is far above the national average, which is between 2.9 and 3.4 years.

Kelso has a population of roughly 10,000 people, he said, adding that Robinson brings a "polished, calming style to the game."

Said Prothman, "If you're looking for a manager to help staff come together, a manager to bring rising stars above, this is who I recommend."

Robinson retired from his post in Kelso in 2007.

Prothman suggested council meet with Robinson as early as Monday, July 27, which is not a regularly scheduled council meeting date (council had previously agreed not to meet on July 27 and Aug. 10 for vacation). Council readily agreed, but Sunnyside City Councilwoman Theresa Hancock requested at least one other resume be brought before council for review. Prothman said he looked at four or five resumes and selected Robinson as the city's "best person" for the job.

Prothman said Robinson has not done work as an interim city manager.

Prothman then provided council with a draft contract "just by way of information."

"It's pretty much a boiler-plate contract that we used last time," Prothman said, without clarifying whether or not the numbers are concrete.

The sample contract given to council lists the interim city manager's rate at $84 per hour, with a $500 per week allowance for cost of living.

When it comes to the hiring process of a full-time city manager, Prothman said Sunnyside should delay the selection process until late January, early February. One reason is because elections are coming up.

During the selection process, he suggested the public be allowed to participate in some way, perhaps with a social.

When it comes to hiring a finance director, he said normally, he'd like to wait until a new city manager is on board so they can help pick the person critical to their finance team. But Bob Noland, the current interim finance director, is only here for a limited time. Prothman said they'd have to move forward fairly quickly, but the public doesn't need to be as involved as he recommends they be with the search for a city manager.

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