By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Amity City Administrator Montana city manager finalist

Outgoing Amity City Administrator Michael Thomas interviewed for the city manager’s position in Helena, Montana this week, as one of three finalists for the job.

Thomas, a finalist for the Astoria City Manager position last year, announced he is leaving Amity at the Feb. 1 city council meeting, effective Friday, March 3.

He met with the Helena Citizen’s Council Tuesday afternoon. Interviews with city leaders and the City Commission followed Wednesday afternoon.

The other finalists are current interim City Manager Tim Burton and Clifford Strachan of South Jordan, Utah, who until recently served as the Sandy, Utah Chief Administrative Officer.

The Amity position was Thomas’ first-ever city administrative job after completing a masters’ degree program at the University of Oregon.

If he’s selected for the Helena position it would mean going from a city population of 1,767 to one of 33,120, according to 2021 statistical information.

The Amity Council will meet next at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1. Mayor Rachel King said she believes Thomas will attend the meeting.

“We will have an item on the agenda to discuss progress on securing an interim administrator, and a ‘recruitment service agreement’ will be presented by Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments for the city council’s consideration,” she said.

The Amity City Council approved hiring Thomas May 1, 2019. He went to work a month later, replacing Justin Hogue, who resigned in November 2018 to become Yamhill County’s Business Services Director. Hogue was hired in December 2016.

The agreement with the COG, if approved, would be for their services to assist the council with establishing a timeline, framework and execution of the upcoming hiring process.

Burton is no stranger to Helena. He served as city manager from 2000 until 2009, then resigned to work as chief of staff for the former Montana Attorney General, the Helena Independent Record newspaper reported.

The Helena position has resembled a revolving door since June 2018, when Ron Allen retired, after nearly eight years on the job, as six people have worked in either a permanent or interim role.

The City Commission could select one of the candidates as early as Feb. 28, according to Commission Clerk Dannai Clayborn.


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