Police chief new interim city manager

Councilor Brandon Ogilvie and Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn at a 2016 City Council meeting.

Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn will serve as interim city manager starting in July.

After 2 1/2 years in Cannon Beach, City Manager Brant Kucera is leaving at the end of the month to become the city manager of Sisters, citing the need for “a change of pace.”

“Sisters is a small city but it’s growing fast and I find that opportunity really appealing to me,” Kucera said at the end of May.

Schermerhorn was suggested as a candidate because he had served as an interim city manager briefly between former city manager Rich Mays’ retirement and interim city manager Jennie Messer in 2014, Kucera said, and is familiar with the duties.

“He is well-liked and well-known throughout the community,” Kucera said.

The City Council voted unanimously for Schermerhorn.

Selecting the police chief also means the city does not have to spend time or resources finding, hiring and training an interim pick from outside City Hall.

Schermerhorn has been the police chief of Cannon Beach since 2012, and before then was a sergeant for Seaside Police from 2005 to 2012. He received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Western Oregon University.

He will be receiving Kucera’s salary during the interim.

The City Council will be presented with quotes from recruitment firms at a work session next week. Whichever firm is chosen will have four months to begin a national search to fill the position by November, according to the city charter.

The interim city manager serves mostly as a point of contact to make sure predetermined projects and business keep moving efficiently, Kucera said.

While summer is generally the busiest time for law enforcement in Cannon Beach, Schermerhorn said he was not concerned with an overwhelming workload. With how the hierarchy of the department works, Lt. Chris Wilbur is already accustomed to taking on chief duties when he is away, he said.

Before departing in June, Kucera plans to sit down with department heads to solidify projects, as well as finish lease negotiations between the city and the Cannon Beach Academy concerning its new location at the former Children’s Center on Hemlock.

The proposed plan to purchase five affordable housing units to place in the RV Resort on Elk Land Road and Haskell Lane planned for summer will be postponed to the fall most likely, Kucera said, to be under the guidance of whoever is the new city manager.

During his time in Cannon Beach, Kucera helped the city adopt its first strategic plan, which he called “the foundation we’re going to need to move forward as a community.” The plan was developed from a citizen survey that received a 40 percent response rate from the city’s 1,700 residents.

Kucera advised whoever takes on the role next to be very physically present in the community.

“This community expects the city manager to be visible and out there in the community — more than I have been,” Kucera said. “The next manager needs to recognize being active in the community is the key to their success.”

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