City manager, city attorney receive positive evaluations

The Philomath City Council issued favorable performance evaluations for City Manager Chris Workman and City Attorney Jim Brewer following a Dec. 21 special meeting.

The city provided details of those evaluations on Friday afternoon through a prepared press release.

The executive session last month lasted approximately 2-1/2 hours and included the former City Council that included Ruth Causey, Doug Edmonds, Chas Jones, Matt Lehman, David Low and Mayor Eric Niemann. Matthew Thomas was absent from the meeting.

Following the closed meeting, councilors briefly discussed compensation and approved a motion to issue a step increase to Workman, which he said equates to a 4% raise and rolls into the 2021-22 budget effective July 1.

For Brewer, the city planned to review its contract with the city attorney’s office to make a determination on a fee adjustment. Workman said he believed it had been some time since payment terms had been adjusted.

“We want to make sure we’re compensating the city attorney’s office fairly,” said Workman, who told councilors that Joan Swanson, finance director, would study the issue and report findings to the Finance and Administration Committee. “The cost-of-living adjustment helps but I do think it’s worth a little bit of a closer look at it once in a while — and it’s been a while.”

As far as details involving evaluations, the City Council gave Workman high marks.

“Overall, Mr. Workman’s performance was found to be very strong,” the press release states. “The council recognized that the city manager’s workload was dramatically increased by the pandemic — managing the utilization and distribution of COVID funds to nonprofits and Philomath businesses; adhering to COVID protocols and maintaining PPE supplies; initiating a website upgrade and ensuring that all city meetings ran smoothly on Zoom and Facebook.”

The press release detailed Workman’s attention to ongoing projects in addition to the pandemic response, specifically the Downtown Safety and Streetscapes project and upcoming construction of Philomath’s new water treatment plant.

In addition, the council mentioned Workman’s oversight of the opening of Flossie Overman Discovery Park, the implementation of a new information technology vendor and cybersecurity plan, an update of the city’s Comprehensive Plan and various other accomplishments, such as helping with the development of Philomath’s inclusivity resolution and assistance with various events in the community.

Workman’s evaluation discussion included review of councilors’ input on two questionnaires covering core competencies and performance relative to Philomath’s Strategic Plan. The council also noted performance improvement in response to last year’s review.

The council gave Brewer exemplary marks “for his legal expertise and his thorough preparation for council meetings,” according to the press release.

The council also remarked that it appreciated his efforts to keep the city informed of legal developments and navigating legal matters. Brewer’s work on House Bill 1573 (home rule legislation) was also noted.

Brewer serves as the primary contact for the City Council and is assisted by attorneys David Coulombe and Carrie Greenshields.

The city posted the press release in its entirety on its website.

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