Cascade Locks re-starts search for city administrator

August 20, 2011

It's back to square one again as Cascade Locks enters its second month without a city administrator .

After asking more money than the city offered, Eric Strahl is no longer under consideration, according to Mayor George Fischer.

Strahl, of Menominee, Mich., had been offered the job in late July after he and one other candidate, Neil Obringer of Albany, interviewed for the job.

In a special meeting on Aug. 15, City Council gave Fischer the authority to hire an interim administrator.

"I'm working on that currently," Fischer said.

The previous interim administrator, Rich Carson, finished his four-month (corrected from the print edition) contract in early July. He was hired in February after the departure of former administrator Bernard Seeger.

The city was scheduled to adopt a contract with Strahl for an annual salary of $70,000, but Strahl had asked for more money and moving expenses. He had notified the city by email on Aug. 5 of his requests, and the contract item was removed from the council's Aug. 8 meeting.

"He's no longer in consideration," Fischer said Thursday. "We couldn't afford more money."

Strahl said in a telephone interview Wednesday that his request was money-related issues and not motivated by the pending recall against Fischer and four council members.

"It really didn't impact it much one way or another," Strahl said of the recall effort, adding that in situations such as a pending recall, it is standard procedure to include a contract clause protecting a newly hired administrator in case lead elected officials are removed from office.

Fischer along with Kevin Benson, Don Haight, Lance Masters, and Tiffany Pruit are named in a recall that Cascade Locks voters will consider on Sept. 20.

"What you always try and do if you're going to run into a situation like that is address those situations one way or another in an employment agreement," Strahl said. "If you can do that, it's not as big an issue as it would appear to be.

"You never know if something like that would happen and who you'd be working with after that point," he said. "It's hard to say how much of an impact it would have because you don't know much about the four individuals."

Strahl said his decision to ask for changes in the proposed contract were due to "the salary offer, given the cost of living difference between city of Menominee and Cascade Locks and whether I'd have to be picking up moving expenses. Two of those things made it impossible for me to accept (the contract as offered)."

An article in the Aug. 17 Hood River News stated Strahl had withdrawn his name; Strahl had been unavailable for comment for that article.

When Strahl was contacted on Aug. 17 he said he had not taken himself out of the running, and had not heard back from the city after his Aug. 5 request for changes in the contract.

Fischer said Thursday that "we have sent him a letter" informing Strahl he is no longer a candidate.

Strahl said that in his email to the city, "I said I realize the budget situation the city of Cascade Locks is facing, something municipalities across the country are having to deal with, and it may be more appropriate to look for someone in-state than out-of-state."

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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