Council backs pick for city administrator

The Ashland City Council unanimously confirmed Mayor John Stromberg's appointment of Dave Kanner as the new city administrator on Tuesday night.

Kanner will officially begin work in Ashland on Monday.

Ashland City councilors said they were looking forward to Kanner coming to work for Ashland.

"I think Dave will bring a set of skills we really need right now," said councilor Carol Voisin, noting that Ashland faces a range of infrastructure issues.

Councilor Greg Lemhouse said he was excited about Kanner's arrival. He thanked the city staff members and citizens who helped meet and interview city administrator finalists during the search process.

In August 2011, Kanner was fired from his job as county administrator after a 2-1 vote of commissioners in Deschutes County, which includes Bend.

People there said he demonstrated honesty, integrity and professional expertise, but he had a blunt style and didn't often offer praise to his staff.

The Bulletin newspaper in Bend reported in September 2001 that Kanner received a severance deal from Deschutes County worth $118,000.

The Ashland City Council approved paying Kanner $132,684 annually on Tuesday night. The maximum pay rate for the Ashland city administrator is $137,000, city officials said.

Kanner will be eligible for a raise after one year.

As part of a contract approved by the council, Kanner will get a severance package of one month's pay for every month he has worked, up to six months pay, if he is fired within his first three years of working for the city of Ashland.

Six months pay would be at least $66,342, according to city of Ashland figures.

The severance will increase to nine months pay — or at least $99,513 — if he is fired after three years.

Kanner will receive benefits that will equal roughly 50 percent of his salary, Ashland city officials said.

The benefits include family health insurance, participation in the public employees retirement plan and a monthly automobile allowance of $400.

Kanner will receive a housing allowance of $1,200 per month for one year or until his home in Central Oregon sells, Ashland city officials said.

Kanner served as county administrator for Deschutes County from 2006 into 2011.

Prior to that, he was the deputy county administrator for Jackson County from 2000 into 2006.

Ashland city officials said his accomplishments while working for Jackson County included work on the completion of $56 million worth of capital projects that were done on time and under budget.

Kanner has also worked as an assistant city manager for Wilsonville and a senior public affairs specialist for the Portland METRO regional government.

Kanner replaces former Ashland City Administrator Martha Bennett, who left her job here in late 2011 after winning a post as the chief operating officer for METRO.

Larry Patterson, former city manager for Oregon City, has been filling in as Ashland's interim city administrator. Ashland City Councilors thanked him for his service.

Patterson said he believes the contract offered to Kanner is equitable.

"I think this is a very fair contract to the candidate and to the citizens of Ashland," he said.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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