Brookings Finance and Human Resources Director Janell Howard has applied for City Manager Gary Milliman’s position and, if hired, she could step into his job as early as the end of June.
Milliman, who has worked for the city for 10 years, announced his intended retirement April 12, although he has yet to establish a last day of service. He has been saying he’d like to retire before autumn.
The city prefers to conduct hiring from within and Howard has been with the city since 2009. She held a similar position in Coos County for 10 years prior to moving to Curry County.
Milliman plans to teach classes at Southwestern Oregon Community College.
The city council is slated to discuss Milliman’s recommendation to fill the seat by inviting Howard to submit an employment agreement for council consideration at its May 29 meeting.
“The council has indicated they wish to employ someone with strong city government management experience, has appropriate education, a strong commitment to public service and who is willing to make a long-term commitment,” Milliman said.
He also proposes a base salary for the new manager be $128,000, about 13 percent higher than the current base and include a 2.3 cost of living adjustment alongside all city employees on July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.
The 13 percent might seem to be a substantial hike, Milliman said, noting that he has often foregone some salary increases in exchange for the city paying for continuing education.
He said the salary of the new city manager should remain comparable with other Oregon communities of similar size.
Milliman said he conducted an informal search by circulating a notice to city manager associations in Oregon and California. He received two applicants, neither of whom he felt should be considered.
“Many communities are experiencing difficulty with management turnover and in finding quality city manager candidates, even after spending thousands of dollars using professional recruiters,” Milliman said.
Curry County spent more than a year to find a county administrator using a recruiter, hiring John Hitt in September as an interim manager. His replacement, Clark Schroeder begins work in early June.
“Several cities, including Florence, Coos Bay and Medford, have selected from within to fill their city manager positions,” Milliman said. “The city has had similar issues in (filling positions in) planning and public works management.”
Howard, a Brookings native and a Brookings-Harbor High School valedictorian, also covers for Milliman in his absence. She also served as an audit consultant and manager for six years.
“As budget officer, she is intimately familiar with the city operations,” Milliman said. “The city’s continued healthy financial condition is attributable in large part ot her efforts. She’s been a key member of the city’s core management team.”
Howard has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Oregon and is a certified public accountant.
While working for Brookings and Coos Bay, she has supervised the finance department’s staff, prioritized and developed work plans, hired and fired employees and provided training.
Howard advises the city manager, council and committees about financial matters, is responsible for completing the annual budget and audit, assists with the collective bargaining process for three unions, administers risk-management policies and conducts human resources work.
While working as an audit consultant for six months in Monmouth in 2008-09, Howard lead the preparation of audits, helped with the financial system development for new software, developed internal control policies and procedures, prepared bids and ensured the city was in compliance with financial laws and principles.
She is a member of the state Society of Public Accountants — and served on various committee and board positions — the American Institute of CPAs, the state Municipal Finance Officers Association, the Government Finance Officers Association and served on the Oregon Municipal Debt Advisory Committee for four years.
“I am excited; it could be a great opportunity,” Howard said. “I definitely love finance, and didn’t foresee this on a bucket list of things to do, but I think it could be a great transition from my current job. There is a lot of finance in the city manager job, and (my experience) will make that transfer that much smoother.”