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Patridge accepts $157,100 city manager offer

Medford resident Rob Patridge has been offered the job of city manager with a $157,100 base salary and a proposed contract that allows him to continue being the chairman of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

“I enthusiastically accepted it,” Patridge said. “I am pleased with the fact they’ve offered me the city manager position.”

Patridge has been the district attorney in Klamath County for three years, with a salary of $113,639 a year.

The Medford City Council will consider whether it wants to approve the eight-page contract with Patridge at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 21, at the council chambers in City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St.

Patridge was selected from three finalists. The other two — Jon Amundson, assistant city manager in Richland, Wash., and James Thompson, retired city manager in Casa Grande, Ariz. — both had city manager experience, while Patridge did not.

Patridge has cited his extensive record working as president of Covey Consulting in Medford, an attorney with Pacific Retirement Services and general counsel for U.S. Rep. Greg Walden. He served in the Oregon House for six years beginning in 1999 and was a deputy district attorney for Jackson County for three years prior to his election. He was also a Medford city councilor for two years starting in 1996, when he was 27.

“He brings a non-traditional set of qualities to the position,” Councilor Kevin Stine said.

Stine said he has concerns about Patridge dividing his time between the city manager job and his work with OLCC.

“He believes he can do both the OLCC and city manager at the same time,” Stine said. “There is a consensus (on the council) that he should have the ability to do both.”

Stine said he hopes to have a good discussion among councilors about Patridge before a vote is taken on Thursday.

“It’s a decision I’m still thinking over,” he said.

Under the proposed contract, Patridge would receive a $500 monthly car allowance and would start work with a credit of 40 hours of sick leave and 40 hours of vacation. He would also receive a $65 monthly cellphone allowance.

Patridge can continue to be chairman of the OLCC as long as it doesn’t detract from his duties as city manager, according to the contract. He won’t be required to take vacation, personal time or unpaid leave to participate in OLCC duties, according to the contract. During regular work hours, he will get paid for his OLCC duties.

If the council terminates Patridge’s employment for cause, the city wouldn’t provide a severance package. If he is terminated without cause, he would receive a severance package that amounts to six months of salary.

Patridge said he wouldn’t have any problems quitting his current DA job and starting the city manager job in the 45 days after the employment agreement is finalized.

Patridge said he plans to seek clear direction from the council when he takes the job.

He said he wants to spend a lot of time with employees and fully assess the organization at City Hall.

The previous city manager, Eric Swanson, was fired by the council last year for several reasons, but primarily the council believed that Swanson was managing them rather than the council managing him. They also cited ongoing issues between Swanson and Travel Medford as a reason for his termination.

Patridge said he would be working hard with the council on developing better communications.

“I think one of (my) strengths is as a consensus builder and a transparent communicator,” he said. “Obviously there are divisions on the council. With the differences on the council, I believe I can improve the communication.”

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Rob Patridge