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Shady Cove administrator takes Gold Hill position

GOLD HILL — Longtime Shady Cove City Administrator Elise Smurzynski will become Gold Hill's first city manager on Nov. 16.

Smurzynski, whose last day in Shady Cove will be Nov. 13, said she looked forward to the job change and helping the small town manage its daily operations.

"Gold Hill is a city with a ton of stuff going for it," she said Tuesday. "They've got a good council that's worked tremendously hard to keep a positive momentum."

Smurzynski will take the reins after the city struggled for years with personnel issues and troubles funding a police department. She faces recent concerns over public works operations, a possible water rate hike and the question of whether to seek law- enforcement coverage from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

"In my opinion, the council has done a pretty good job in the last few years of managing some particularly difficult situations and they have a lot to be proud of," she said.

"I really got to know council while I was helping them with other things and really appreciated the tremendous amount of personal commitment and involvement they had and that they were able to keep a sense of humor."

Smurzynski has worked for Shady Cove for nine years and is only the second administrator in the town's history. She was hired in October 2000 after serving 17 years as deputy city manager and clerk in Riverbank, Calif., near Modesto.

"I will miss our great staff and our wonderful volunteers," she said, "and the exceptional community participation that our town has."

Her resignation follows Police Chief Rick Mendenhall's retirement in July and the resignation of all but two of the city's policemen. City officials are still debating whether to keep their own police department or contract with the Jackson County sheriff.

Mayor Ron Holthusen complimented Smurzynski's service.

"What stands out for me," he said, "is when you read back through the last several years of the things the city was trying to accomplish, you see progress, a progression.

"I give Elise credit and kudos for guiding that over the years. Moving it forward."

Holthusen said the council will consider an interim administrator at its regular study session Thursday afternoon and vote on Smurzynski's resignation during the evening session.

Gold Hill Councilwoman Christine Alford said the council was happy to hire an "experienced and qualified city manager." The position will pay $50,000.

"We're thrilled that the opportunity came up to hire her," Alford said.

E-mail Buffy Pollock at buffypollock@juno.com. Shady Cove freelance writer Bill Miller contributed to this report.