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Talent hires new interim city manager

Sandra Spelliscy, a former executive director of environmental groups with experience in small-town politics, has been named interim city manager in Talent. Spelliscy began work June 4 and will be a candidate for the permanent position.

From 2012 to 2014, Spelliscy was executive director of Resources Legacy Fund in Sacramento, California, where she was responsible for a staff of 16 and a $35 million annual budget. She headed The River Exchange, a watershed stewardship organization in Siskiyou County, California, from 2006 to 2010.

Spelliscy served on Mount Shasta City Council from 2006 to 2010 and was on the town’s Planning Commission in 2005-06. She was on the Davis, California, Planning Commission for five years in the 1990s.

“We liked her land-use experience and her management style, and we liked her government experience,” Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood said of Spelliscy. “We felt she was a well-rounded choice to serve in the interim position.”

Application deadline for the permanent position is Friday. The opening was created when the city terminated Tom Corrigan in January. Finance Director Ryan Martin had served as interim manager since November 2017 when Corrigan was placed on leave. Martin became Medford’s chief financial officer/assistant city manager earlier this month.

Spelliscy and her husband were living in Talent while they waited for escrow to close on a house they were having built in Ashland.

“I fell in love with the town,” said Spelliscy. “I had been keeping my eye out. I just decided to jump in and apply for the interim position.”

Among challenges for the city are affordable housing, bringing land into the urban growth boundary and an application to create a new subdivision in southeast Talent, Spelliscy said.

“I look at them as options. There is a lot going on, but they are great options for the city one way or the other,” she said.

A lawyer, Spelliscy served as staff counsel to the California Energy Commission and was senior adviser to the state’s Strategic Growth Council. She also had public policy roles with the Planning and Conservation League in Sacramento and the National Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C.

Rogue Valley Council of Governments assisted the city in the search process. The agency will review applications and present a short list to a selection subcommittee, said Ayers-Flood. That group will then submit a list to the entire City Council. Ayers-Flood hopes to have the selection process completed in July.

In another personnel matter, the City Council Wednesday will consider adding a Community Development Department assistant position for one year to help with a number of projects, including a parks master plan update, water and storm water master plans and planning oversight needed for development of Talent Urban Renewal Agency’s Gateway Project.

If the council approves the position, it would amend the 2018-19 city budget, which was approved June 6, to appropriate funds at the July 3 meeting. Estimated funding of $75,190 would be apportioned among the general fund, parks fund, streets fund, water fund and Talent Urban Renewal Agency based on projected uses of the assistant’s time.

Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at

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