Oak Harbor facing vacancies in key positions

The city of Oak Harbor has recently experienced some major staff turnover in key positions that are still in the process of being filled.

Countless years of institutional memory are being lost and the dynamics of department are inevitably changing, but City Administrator Blaine Oborn said he hopes new employees will bring renewed energy as they work alongside veteran staff members.

“It’s good to have a combination of old and new,” Oborn said.

Patricia Soule, the finance director, left the city this week. Her position will likely be filled in the interim by a CPA from the Municipal Research and Services Center.

Steve Powers, longtime development services director, left earlier this year to take a city administrator position in Mukilteo. Cac Kamak has been acting as interim development services director. According to Oborn, the city will soon hire a replacement.

City Attorney Nicki Esparza left late last year. Anna Thompson is acting as the interim city attorney while the city is also utilizing the law firm Weed, Graffstra and Associates to assist with legal matters.

Rich Tyhuis, the former operations manager of the streets, water and facilities department, retired earlier this year after 44 years on the job. His position was dissolved and his duties were divided amongst other employees.

Hank Nydam, the longtime parks operations manager, is retiring at the end of the month.

Oborn said a few of the positions were staffed by seasoned personnel and the vacancies came as part of a natural cycle. Some of the positions have been left open while the city searches for qualified candidates.

“We just decided to hold out for a while,” Oborn said.

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