Koch extends contract with Cascade Locks

— Paul Koch will be sticking around Cascade Locks awhile longer.

The city’s interim city manager, whose contract was supposed to expire at the end of this month, had his engagement extended to March 2013 by the City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.

“It really puts the council and the community in the best possible situation,” Koch said of the extension.

Koch has been serving as the city’s interim city manager since August 2011.

Koch said the extension would help to “insulate the council and the community from any sort of disruption that might occur” with upcoming elections in November.

Mayor Lance Masters said the search committee for a permanent city administrator had narrowed the list down to around five candidates, which would be contacted for phone interview, but that those interviews had not yet occurred.

Koch and Masters said the formal interview process for candidates may wait until after the election in order to bring in the best possible candidate.

Koch said that even if the process were to go full speed ahead right now, it would still be at least 60-90 days before a final choice was identified.

“It’s going to plop in that November-December time period and that’s a difficult time to fill these positions,” he said.

The extension to March will give the city flexibility to make its decision after the election, if necessary.

Koch said this was only the second time he could recall he would have a consulting position stretch out to 18 months, but he was willing to make an exception in this case.

“We’re very fortunate to have him as long as we’ve had,” Masters said.

The city has been without a permanent city manager since the departure of Bernard Seeger in January of 2011.

Since then the position has been filled on an interim basis by Rich Carson, former mayor George Fischer and Koch.

The contract extension calls for a 30-day termination notice option from either party, ensuring that Koch can stay around to help in a transition period if needed.

The contract pays Koch $5,000 per month with lodging expenses for up to four nights per weeks in Cascade Locks not to exceed $1,100 per month.

In other Cascade Locks government happenings:

n The City of Cascade Locks will be hosting a town hall-style meeting Aug. 20 to discuss its electric rates review process.

Topics for discussion will include information about the City Electrical Department: how rates compare to other cities; the impact of economic development on rates; and a chance for citizens and business to express concerns and comments about electric service.

The meeting will be held at the City Hall gym at 7 p.m.

n The Port of Cascade Locks has hired Gary Rains as its Economic Development Director.

The position is a new one for the port and will target finding and developing opportunities for Cascade Locks, communicating positive attributes of Cascade Locks and serving as the main contact point for businesses considering relocating or expanding in Cascade Locks.

“With this expansion of our marketing team, the Port is positioning itself to be more attractive in a variety of vertical markets, as a first-choice geographic location, and to ensure continuous local communication and consistency,” said Port General Manager Chuck Daughtry in a press release. “I am excited about Rains appointment. It is important for us to become more proactive and professional in our approach.”

n

The City Council held a work session Thursday night to hear a presentation from Gorge Networks about a potential partnership with the City to upgrade the City’s cable network and take over operation of the network.

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