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Three finalists named for Talent city manager post

Talent's new city hall on Mail Street is scheduled to open Monday, July 30. 7/27/07 Denise Baratta

A former California water district manager, a Colorado city manager and a Portland Water Bureau analyst are finalists for the Talent city manager position.

City Council will interview the three candidates 5 p.m. Tuesday in a public online special meeting.

Alan Gardner was general manager of the Valley of the Moon Water District located in Sonoma, California, in 2019 and 2020.

Michael Paterson has served as Florence, Colorado, city manager since 2011.

Jordan Rooklyn has worked for the Portland Water Bureau since last year and for that city five years.

City Council approved a June 2 recommendation from a hiring subcommittee to interview the three candidates. The subcommittee had interviewed seven applicants in a May 24 public Zoom session.

Current interim City Manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s contract will expire at the end of June. She was hired in January, replacing Sandra Spelliscy, who had served as Talent city manager since June 2018. The city and Spelliscy signed a separation agreement that provided her with a one-time payment of $48,133, equal to five months salary.

Gardner supervised a water utility that served 30,000 residents, had a staff of 15 and a $6.5 million budget. He developed and implemented plans to move water anywhere to face wildfire threats. From 2015 to 2018, Gardner was general manager of the Clearlake Oaks County Water District in California. From 2008 to 2014 he was president and chief executive officer of Eco Friendly Energy Company, which installed solar energy system in public schools.

Gardner has a law degree from the University of California and a bachelor’s degree from the UCLA. He told the subcommittee that his wife is a native Oregonian and that he has visited the area regularly.

Patterson has been city manager since December 2011 in Florence, Colorado, where he oversees all aspects of municipal operations for the town of 3,900. Patterson also had city administrative experience in College Park and Airport Heights, Washington. He was city manager in Redmond starting in 2004. In December 2008 Patterson pleaded guilty to domestic abuse charges and resigned from his position with Redmond.

Patterson has a master’s degree in public administration from Eastern Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University. He told the subcommittee he loved his job in Colorado, but had been there for a while and was ready to go west.

Rooklyn has been a strategic analyst with the Portland Water Bureau since February 2020. She leads efforts analyzing data to develop goals and plans for the organization. She was a performance management analyst with the Portland Bureau of Transportation from 2018 to 2020. She has also held management and analyst positions with the Portland Police Bureau and the Center for Education & Data Research in Seattle. She worked with a foundation in Ecuador and as a summer youth program coordinator for Mt. Hood Community College.

Rooklyn earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana. She told the subcommittee she grew up in Ashland and wants to come back to the Rogue Valley to contribute to redesign of the community in the wake of the Almeda fire.

Ana Marie Alfrey of the Rogue Valley Council of Governments has served as a consultant to the city on search activities.

Rooklyn’s interview is scheduled for 5:10 p.m., followed by Gardner at 6:00 and Patterson at 6:50. An executive session is scheduled to convene after the interviews, followed by a report or potential motion in public session. Information on accessing the public session can be found on the city website, at cityoftalent.org.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gamil.com.