By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Sheridan officially hires new city manager

Heidi Bell was officially hired as the new Sheridan City Manager at Monday night’s city council meeting.

The six-member council of Roxie Acuff, Jim Buckles, Rich Cox Sr., Lucy Hebert, Dennis McElroy and Sandy Walker voted, 6-0, at the Monday, Aug. 2 work session to offer Bell a contract.

City Attorney Walt Gowell gave her the opportunity to review the agreement before it was signed by herself and Mayor Aaron Baer.

Bell, the current city manager in the Marion County community of Donald, signed a two-year contract that will pay her $112,500 annually. She will start in Sheridan Monday, Nov. 1.

After a six-month successful performance evaluation by the council, her annual salary may be increased to no more than $118,000.

The salary is subject to an annual cost of living increase.

Bell did not attend the meeting, but said in an e-mail to the News-Register, “I am really excited to come to Sheridan and work to make a positive difference in the City.”

She has 11 years experience in local government, including work as the Amity City Clerk and the Tualatin Planning Clerk.

Additionally, the city and current City Manager Frank Sheridan agreed to an early termination of his contract. It originally was due to expire Jan. 14, but he will leave the city Oct. 31. He has said he plans to retire.

The council approved an amended contract, 4-1, with one abstention. Hebert opposed the agreement and McElroy abstained.

Sheridan’s 2021 annual salary will be pro-rated to reflect the number of months or partial months worked prior to the termination date. He will also receive six monthly severance payments commencing Nov. 1. 

His monthly salary is $7,858, or $94,296 a year, so the severance will cost the city $47,148.

Sheridan said the arrangement suits him well. He had previously offered to renegotiate his contract to provide for a smooth transition from when he left the city to when the new manager went to work.

The agreement also states that “prior to and for 30 days after the termination of Sheridan’s employment with the city,” he will cooperate with and assist Bell as requested.

“I think this is a luxury to have a schedule that overlaps with the successor,” Sheridan said. “I’ll be here, talking with her.”

He also said that the agreement demonstrates to the council that he is not upset regarding his early departure. He said he’s leaving feeling upbeat and positive.

“I’m not going to walk out the door and slam it behind me,” he said. “I want to see the city continue to move along smoothly.”

Bell has served Donald, in Marion County 24 miles south of Portland, since 2012. She has 11 years experience in local government, including work as the Amity City Clerk and the Tualatin Planning Clerk.

“I think she’s going to be a good fit,” Sheridan said. “She is energetic, knowledgeable and very personable. Information I have gotten back from people who have dealt with her tells me she will fit in well with the community.”

Sheridan said his final two months will be spent getting long-term projects related to sewer, water and roads prepared for Bell to take over.

“I don’t see any big action items coming up,” Sheridan said. “The budget (2021-22) is done.”

A lengthy executive session was held before the council took a vote on Sheridan’s amended contract. Gowell led the discussion with input from the council and Sheridan.

Joining was Tamara Russell Jones, Deputy General Counsel for Citycounty Insurance Services.



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