By News-Register staff • 

Amity hires city administrator

Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas

AMITY - The Amity City Council approved hiring Michael Thomas as city manager at Wednesday night's monthly meeting.

Robert Andrade, Ryan Lehman and Caralyn Miller voted in favor of naming Thomas. Joshua Simonson and Nickolas Wilkinson were absent. Max Walker recently resigned and his position has not been filled.

"This is very good news for our city," Mayor Michael Cape said.

Thomas, an Air Force retiree after 20 years of service, is completing a masters' degree program at the University of Oregon in public administration with an emphasis on metropolitan and state governance.

"I'm very happy to be the next administrator for the city of Amity," Thomas said. "I appreciate their (council) confidence in me, as a rookie, to take on the work of managing the city."

He has no city administration experience, but expressed excitement at the opportunity the Amity job presents.

"That will be a challenge, but one that I am willing to accept," said Thomas. "I did not hide that fact from them. They are willing to accept that risk, and willing to teach me along the way. I think it will be a good agreement going forward."

Seeking stability at the position, the council sought a three-year commitment from whomever was hired. Thomas intends to live in the city, which Cape said demonstrates a committment to embed himself in the community.

Thomas will earn $65,000 a year. There will be a six-month job performance review, at which time he will be in line for a raise to be determined by the council.

He will graduate June 17 and start work July 1.

Thomas said his masters' degree program has prepared him for the job he has landed.

He has been seeking opportunities with any city, big or small, that would be willing to take a chance on someone with no governmental administration experience. That is counter-balanced, he believes, by the leadership and management experience gained while serving in the Air Force.

Thomas said Amity presents a lot of challenges, but also many opportunities.

"Amity's a city on the way up and I hope to keep that going," Thomas said.

He received his bachelor’s degree at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a masters’ degree from Trident University International in Cypress, California. He also attended Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, and received a second masters' degree.

Thomas will follow Justin Hogue who resigned last November to become Yamhill County's Business Services Director. He was named the Amity City Administrator in December 2016.

Hogue replaced Larry Layton who retired. There were four finalists for the job when Hogue was hired, including Cape and Simonson.

Former Carlton City Manager Chad Olsen filled in as interim City Administrator when Hogue left. 

There were 24 applicants for the position. Some had far more city administrative experience than others. There were also several with strong military backgrounds.

"All of the applicants were high quality," Cape said at Wednesday night's meeting. "I think any one of them could have done this job."

With Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments Executive Director Sean O’Day overseeing the search, the field was narrowed to 10. Three bowed out, and the remaining seven participated in telephone interviews with a group that included Andrade and Lehman.

Three finalists emerged from the group of seven. In addition to Thomas, they were Utah resident Scott Finlayson, who has law enforcement and city administration experience, and Daniel Hunter, Human Resources Director for the city of The Dalles.

The trio participated in a community-wide meet-and-greet prior to panel interviews with different community groups - city councilors, area city managers and community members.


John J. Collins

Congrats to Amity.