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Just a Thought - I'm ready for new city administrator
Lisa Hobbs, new mugshot.jpg

It appears McMinnville officials are finally ready to make a public announcement as to whom they want to replace Bill Brock and be the next city administrator. 

That decision is slated for Tuesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. Bring popcorn, because I’m calling this a be-careful-what-you-wish-for season finale. 

Government wheels have two speed settings. One, the wheel spins so fast it leaves you wondering what  just happened. I’ve witnesses this a handful of times over my 15 years covering local government. Two, the wheel moves at a snail’s pace that seems to take forever. Those steps sound like feet dragging across the floor in an attempt to prolong a decision that must inevitably be made. Because the latter pace is more prevalent, perception is indeed reality. 

This process to find a permanent city administrator started months ago and was prompted by former mayor Jimmy Haley in June 2018. He was, at that time, running for county executive. 

Haley’s reason for urging the city to begin the search for a new city administrator may differ depending on whom you ask. While some may say Haley was completing some unfinished business before his departure by replacing a temporary administrator with a permanent one, others will may say this was one last jab between the two. 

I think most everyone in city government knew there was animosity – is that too strong a word? – there. I was aware of the tension between Brock and Haley. Because of that, I was not surprised when Haley prompted the hiring process. I was surprised that board members supported Haley’s desire. 

Be careful what you wish for, because Brock announced his retirement in November. Kudos. I probably would have done that myself. Who wants to stay where they are obviously not appreciated? 

Now, here we are in mid-April. City officials have endured two application processes, eight telephone interviews and three personal interviews. I don’t know when board members felt the full weight of their fateful decision to begin this search, but it did happen. If you were listening, you could almost hear the sound of dragging feet. 

My prediction: I don’t think Tuesday’s selection process will fall in Community Development Department director Nolan Ming’s favor. I feel they are about to take a leap of faith and offer the position to an unknown: Brian Wilson. 

I hate to burn a bridge before one is even built, but I think board members should start to look inward for filling vacancies in the city administrator position. They have department directors who have proven they have what it takes to run a department, the education required to be a city administrator, the desired knowledge of city government, and good working relationships with other city employees. 

Regardless of how the vote on Tuesday goes, I’ve watched the process unfold for 10 months. I’m definitely ready for the season finale.

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.