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Ashland administrator takes Santa Rosa job

ASHLAND ' The city will be seeking to fill its top administrative spot for the third time in a little more than four years.

City Administrator Greg Scoles announced Monday his resignation to become public works director for Santa Rosa, Calif. Scoles was named to the Ashland spot in July 2000.

He replaced Mike Freeman, who was hired by the city in April 1998.

That lack of stability in the city's top administrative post concerns some city observers.

I think that's a job that needs consistency, said Russ Silbiger, a city government critic. Rapid turnover is not good in a city administrator post. It's going to take months to find a new one when they have to start from scratch.

He's very easy to work with, said former Mayor Cathy Shaw. With all the things that we run it's hard to lose that continuity.

The vacancy also comes at a time when there may be fewer people available, according to League of Oregon Cities Executive Director Ken Strobeck.

In general city mangers are middle age or greater, said Strobeck. I don't see a whole lot of young people entering the field.

Last year there were 22 changes among the 130 members of the City-County Managers Association, said Strobeck. There are fewer this year, he said.

People generally think if someone is going to stay for three years that's the professional average, said Strobeck. People who stay around for more than five years are definitely the exception.

Before Freeman, Brian Almquist served as city administrator for 27 years.

I think Brian was the anomaly almost, said Councilwoman Susan Reid.

He (Scoles) is a professional. We hire professionals and their careers take them other places.

A number of visible projects were completed or started during Scole's tenure.

They include a wastewater treatment plant, library project, fire station, fiber-optic network and Siskiyou Boulevard reconstruction.

I think he's been able to bring together private sector engineering firms with the public needs, said Reid.

Scoles said his departure comes at good time.

We're at conclusion or coming to conclusion on a lot of the projects, said Scoles. We've made real steps in developing a different organization that communicates with the public. There's a lot going on, but it's wearing, too. We do a lot here.

Scoles served as assistant city administrator and personnel director from 1996 until 2000. He worked for Newberg and The Dalles in Oregon and three cities in California.

Mayor Alan DeBoer said he will develop a replacement process with the city council.

It's probably not the best time for the opportunity, but I guess you have to pick them when the come, said DeBoer. I'm sorry to see him go.

Scoles said he did not seek out the Santa Rosa position. As public works director he will oversee 180 employees, about 20 fewer than in Ashland.

Transportation issues will make up much of his new jobs, he said.

Santa Rosa has a population of 147,600. Pay range for the new job is &

36;118,320 to &

36;147,180 annually. Scoles salary in Ashland is &

36;111,114 annually.

Reach Ashland bureau reporter Tony Boom at 482-4651, or e-mail