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An impressive slate

City leaders often come in for criticism from residents when they spend public money on consultants. Sometimes that’s warranted. But in the case of the $24,500 national search for a new city administrator, we’d call it money well spent.

The slate of five finalists released Tuesday includes two current city employees, Interim City Administrator Adam Hanks and Public Works Director Paula Brown; Medford Deputy City Administrator Kelly Madding, another local candidate and an Ashland resident; and two prospects currently working in Corvallis and Berlin, Maryland.

All have solid qualifications. As a major plus for Ashland, which has been criticized for not having enough women in management positions, four of the five are women.

Hanks has the longest history with Ashland, working for the city in various capacities since 1990. Brown also has a lengthy tenure here, heading the Public Works Department from 1997-2008 and again from 2017 to the present, with time off to finish her Navy career by serving as a civil engineer in both Iraq wars and to retire as a rear admiral.

Madding worked for Jackson County and for the city of Talent before taking her Medford position. The other two candidates are Corvallis Finance Director Nancy Brewer and Laura Allen, town administrator of Berlin, Maryland, whose career includes positions in Colma and Berkeley, California.

Mayor John Stromberg, who will appoint one of these applicants with the City Council’s consent after an executive session, has plenty of impressive talent to choose from. City residents can size up the field at a public reception at 4 p.m. today in the Community Development Building, 51 Winburn Way.

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