Portland faces deadline to find next city clerk

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Portland is scheduling interviews with several candidates to replace the retiring city clerk.

The City Council’s city manager search subcommittee, chaired by Mayor Kate Snyder, took on the additional role of running the search to replace Clerk Katherine Jones when she announced her retirement last year.

Katherine Jones
Portland City Clerk Katherine Jones will retire as of July 1.

The city had to post the job opening twice because staff decided none of the candidates in the initial pool of applicants were qualified.

Snyder said the subcommittee wants to move rapidly because Jones will be gone on July 1.

“We have a ticking clock,” she said. “If we don’t make a successful hire in the next three weeks we will have to figure out an interim situation.”

If that happens, the interim clerk would join several other high-profile city officials who are serving temporarily: City Manager Danielle West and Police Chief Heath Gorham, who replaced their predecessors last November.

Both of those jobs, however, are tied to finding a permanent city manager, which is complicated by the work of the Charter Commission, which has proposed significant changes to the job descriptions of the mayor and manager.

Two search firms the subcommittee was considering hiring advised that the best course of action would be to wait to conduct a search because uncertainty around the job descriptions would limit the pool of candidates.

The firms both agreed to give the city another 90 days to make a decision about which of them to hire. The original deadline for the city to accept a proposal was May 17.

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