OTHELLO — The Othello City Council voted unanimously on Monday to appoint Mayor Shawn Logan as the city’s full-time administrator as well.
The move comes after the departure of Wade Farris, a retired Air Force general, at the end of July to take up the position as the city administrator of Gig Harbor.
The vote also comes two weeks after the council voted unanimously to allow the city to have a full-time, hands-on, administrative mayor.
According to City Attorney Kelly Konkright, Othello, like a lot of cities, has hired city administrators to do the day-to-day running of the city because most mayors have full-time jobs.
“All the authority of the city administrator sits within the office of the mayor,” Konkright explained. “The city administrator does the full-time work, exercising the mayor’s authority.”
The city council has expressed enough faith in Logan’s leadership and abilities, Konkright continued, that it has changed the law and asked Logan to continue as the day-to-day administrator, as well as the mayor.
“The mayor will be doing what he would have told the city administrator too,” Konkright said.
“Some thought I did all these things already,” Logan said.
Logan with the city’s major projects currently under way — especially the long-term goal of getting Othello a “sustainable water supply for the next 75 years” — it makes to have him continue on as administrator to ensure continuity. And because it would take too much time to get a new administrator up to speed.
“This was originally not my idea,” Logan said. “I was approached by (Council Member John) Lallas and staff that this is the direction the city needs to take at this time.”
The day-to-day running of the city requires thoughtfulness, oversight and is a tremendous responsibility that Logan said he is ready for.
“I believe I can do an excellent job,” Logan said. “If the council made a big a mistake, the council has the authority to strip me of these duties.”
Council member Eugene Bain said the advantage of hiring Logan is that he isn’t an outsider using Othello as a “stepping-stone” to another job.
“This is someone we know, who wants to stay here and invest in our community,” Bain said.
The question of the mayor’s salary would be settled by a salary commission. The mayor of Othello is currently paid $12,000 per year on the assumption he or she has another job, while the full-time city administrator is paid $120,000 per year.
The council also unanimously, though grumblingly, approved a 10-year contract with Adams County to handle the city’s garbage, though several council members expressed a desire to have an alternative.
“The citizens of Othello are at the mercy of Adams County,” Lallas said. “When we start raising rates, it just goes through the city. We don’t make any money at this.”
A fire last weekend has closed Bruce Transfer Station, which prepares garbage and recycling for shipment to the Adams County landfill.