City still seeking administrator

Mayor Patty Cohen is expediting the search for a new Oak Harbor city administrator, saying a long-term vacancy in the position would cause administrative problems for the city.

Former City Administrator Ken Nyberg resigned, citing health reasons, effective Sept. 30. Nyberg was on the job for just six months.

“I liken it to having a conductor standing before a symphony orchestra ... Without it you lose ... your formation, your direction. And you can do that for a little bit of time, but you can’t go long-term doing that without ... it coming at a great cost,” Cohen said from her office this week.

Cohen has already interviewed two candidates for the position, and she is scheduled to interview two more next week.

Calling the city administrator “the one that’s responsible for the day-to-day operation” of the city, Cohen stressed the importance of keeping the position filled. City Finance Director Doug Merriman is filling the role, concurrently with his regular responsibilities.

“Legally you need to appoint and designate someone to serve as city administrator in the absence of having that position filled on a permanent basis,” Cohen said.

The city administrator job is a necessary one as well, Cohen said.

“The person that sits in here is typically busy carrying out the directives of the city council as well as identifying and working on the overall city agenda,” Cohen said of the mayor’s job description. “The day-to-day operations of this business, this organization, depends greatly on the talents and skills of the city administrator.”

Cohen had taken 18 months to fill the city administrator slot with Nyberg. The two candidates interviewed so far, she said, are “strong.”

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