Yelm has three candidates to permanently fill the city administrator position, after contracting with Prothman Company in May to find candidates.
The candidates are: Melissa Evans, the senior economic development specialist for the city of Las Vegas; Tom Kadla, the chief administrative officer for the Municipality of Lumby, British Columbia; and Adam Lincoln, the assistant city manager in Lakewood.
The community is invited to a meet and greet Tuesday at the community center starting at 6 p.m., and the interviews, which are open to the public, will be conducted Wednesday at both the Public Safety Building on McKenzie Avenue and at the Yelm Community Center starting at 9 a.m. and lasting until noon. One candidate will receive a tour of the city while the other two are being interviewed, then all three will rotate.
“We will have a pretty good chance to get to know these folks,” Yelm Mayor JW Foster said. “I think we have three excellent candidates.”
The interviews will be conducted by panels of eight made up of three city council members, three city department heads and members of the community, Interim City Administrator Bill Brandon said. The members of the community are selected by Foster. Steve Klein, former events coordinator and spokesman for Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment and representative of the Yelm Business Association, will be on one of the panels, Brandon said. The other positions have yet to be announced.
After the interviews are completed the panels will deliberate and give their thoughts to Foster, Brandon said. He will then make a recommendation to council on who to appoint to the post.
The appointment is expected to be voted on at the Sept. 13 council meeting. The candidates may have to give 30-day notice at their current job under their contract, Brandon said. However, they may not and the new administrator might be on the job sooner.
Brandon has served as Yelm’s interim city administrator since March. He said his last day working with the city will be Sept. 30. Hired as a temporary employee through Prothman, Brandon said he is looking forward to getting back to his retirement and has personal duties.
Evans has been with the city of Las Vegas for two years as the senior economic development
specialist. She has worked with several other municipalities in Arizona and Nevada in various management and finance positions. She has a master’s degree in education from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor’s degree in management from Grand Canyon University in Arizona.
She got into city government after the dotcom bubble burst in the late 1990s because she knew she could help the community.
“I was freaked out after the Internet bust,” she said. “I knew my role was with stewardship and public service.”
With her background in economic development, Evans said she will look for ways to diversify Yelm’s economy. She also said she will work to make sure the council and mayor are presented with the best options on issues.
“I think there are opportunities for diversity,” she said. “Every small town has its challenges.”
Evans grew up in the Olympia-Tumwater area and has family throughout Western Washington. She said this was one of the main attractions of the position in Yelm. The cooler temperatures and the surrounding area are also a nice change of pace compared to the dry heat of Nevada.
“I miss the green,” she said.
Tom Kadla has been the chief administrative officer for the Municipality of Lumby in British Columbia since 2011. He has worked with several other municipalities throughout British Columbia since 1989. He has a master’s degree in business administration from Royal Roads University in British Columbia and a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia.
Kadla said working as a city administrator in the United States will be similar to working as one in Canada. The main difference is Yelm is a mayor strong form of government compared to the council manager system in Lumby. His role will be the same however.
“All the things I’ve learned here are transferable to the United States,” he said.
Lumby and the surrounding area is one of the fastest-growing regions in the provence, Kadla said. It is similar to Yelm in that aspect.
Like the other small towns he has worked in, Yelm has had changes in the local economy and will have to be creative on how to best use its resources to move forward, he said.
Kadla was attracted to Yelm because it is an opportunity for professional development. He has also spent time vacationing in Western Washington with his young family and enjoys the area.
For the past three years Adam Lincoln has been the assistant city manager in Lakewood. He has worked as a city management analyst for the city of SeaTac and as a public policy intern in the Washington state Senate and as a Congressional intern in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Western Washington University.
“I’ve always had an interest in local government, I am a public servant,” he said. “You feel like you are getting something done for folks.”
As a city administrator, Kadla said he will work closely with the community to address the issues the city faces. He plans on being out and about in the community talking to people rather than being “locked away” in his office.